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Reviews & Ratings for
Captives More at IMDbPro »

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23 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

An Intriguing and Intimate Drama

Author: kathy5353853 from Arizona
9 March 2003

Tim Roth never ceases to amaze me with the parts that he plays. He is an "actor's actor". Julia Ormond had some roles in which, I believe, she received unfair unfavorable reviews, here in the states. She is a very talented actress, capable of giving great depth to each performance. Without the experience of working in, and knowing prison systems, this story may seem improbable to some. Having spent some time working at an American prison during graduate schooling, I feel a need to say that it is not at all improbable. I feel that the short synopsis given for this film is not representative of the intention and depth of this creation. Both of the two main characters are in vulnerable personal positions. Their affair is one that is likely enhanced by the potential threat to her job and his upcoming parole. However, the actual relationship these two people establish, is so tender, touching and truly intimate. The trap that develops around them is frightening for them both. But it is this, that brings out each one's absolute need to protect one another, thereby cementing their bond and making them "captives", each to the other's heart. This is a film that I can watch over and over again, even in one evening. I highly recommend it.

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16 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Made by the acting and the directing

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
28 June 2005

Rachel Clifford is a teacher in a dentistry school who starts doing a few days a week in a local prison while breaking up with her husband. It is in this delicate state that she meets prisoner Philip Chaney in the chair. When she meets him again it is in a supermarket – she is doing a shop while he is on day release to attend college. From this informal meeting they gain a natural, chatty air and, with neither really understanding why, they start to become close and meet up each time he gets out. However, in the vicious world of prison there are no real secrets and it is only a matter of time before other cons will see this as a chance to manipulate the situation to their advantage.

Although this sounds like it has a terrible plot, it actually works pretty well for the majority of the film. The core relationship that drives the film is convincingly developed and it is only really in the later stages of the film that the need for a dramatic narrative sees things turning away from the small scale and become slightly less convincing. Of course by then I was into the characters and could forgive it but it still didn't sit that easily with me. Of course for some viewers even the relationship side won't work and I can understand why; some will see it as clunky and obvious but for me it worked and it did so for two reasons.

The first reason is the acting. Ormond may have seemed to have dropped off the A-list that she was in during the mid-1990's but here she is great. Her character is just damaged and frail enough to be needy enough to fall in love in such a situation but not to the point where her love seems like a failing. It sounds simple but it isn't and yet Ormond manages to pull it off. Roth is always interesting and he is just as good here. He is dark, hurt, filled with regret and entirely unsure of how to exist in the two worlds (prison and love) at the same time. They go well together and make things a lot more natural than the plot summary would suggest. The second reason is Pope. Her direction is very good and makes the most out of what must have been a modest budget – only occasionally does it show that it was a BBC film. She never overdoes stuff to draw emotion from the audience and she lets the actors work well.

Overall this was a good film but one that requires you to accept that you are watching a slow BBC drama rather than a Hollywood tearjerker. The story may not be totally convincing but it is not for the want of trying – Pope, Ormond and Roth combine to make this much better than it could have been. Worth seeing for slow development and engaging performances although I wonder how well it sells outside of a UK market more suited to this sort of slow burn stuff.

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12 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Sad, dark, tender story. Breathtaking.

Author: yes_i_am84 from Padova, Italy
12 April 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie was in the middle of the night but, as I saw on the TV guide that it was starring Tim Roth and Julia Ormond, I decided a timer would be well-placed. I got more than I expected from this BBC production, which, I can say now, is one of my favourite films.

WARNING:MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS The story, set in a dark and rainy London, is about a dentist, Rachel Clifford (a Julia Ormond who's perfectly filling the role) who has just gone through a hard divorce from her husband and partner at work Simon, so she decides to accept a job as a prison dentist. That's the way she comes into touch with the prison's hard reality and she meets a person who will change her life: prisoner Philip Chaney (an always wonderful Tim Roth who would deserve to be better known in my country). Their feelings are evident to each other at first sight, and in some way, a relationship begins... and, with it, troubles for the two of them, both inside their relationship and with other captives. END SPOILERS

Everything, I mean EVERYTHING, works in this film: atmosphere (the "gothic" side of London), music (by the great Colin Towns), plot, directing, and mainly the two lead performances. Rachel is a very complex character, but her dominant feeling is a desperate need of love, a need to be the center of someone's life; through Ormond's performance this is perfectly rendered. And about Roth... well, I have no words for his acting here except, perhaps, "more living than life"! Look... just watch carefully the scene of Rachel's first visit and dialogue to Philip. They are not acting but living. And by the way who said that Tim isn't filling properly the role for his physical appearance? Should everybody look like Tom Cruise? This is not the ONLY thing a woman falls for. Just look at his eyes glancing at her to find reasons for her attraction...

Overall a story that's sad, rough, dark...and tender at the same time. It will capture your attention and your breath for a hour and a half. Be nice to yourself and see!

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15 out of 20 people found the following review useful:


Author: erica_racki
13 May 2001

This is a movie that I really enjoyed. It was well written and very intense. Although the idea of a prison romance could have been a turn-off, in this film you feel compassion for the characters who are portrayed by these two fabulous actors. Julia Ormond was wonderful, and Tim Roth was HOT! I definitely have a thing for him, I think he is so sexy, not only is he a talented actor, but he also has this quality that makes him so attractive. If you feel the same way I do, or you like Julia Ormond, or if your just looking for a good movie with suspense and talented actors, then you will like this movie.

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Wow, this blew me away

Author: teresatremain from Cornwall, England
22 June 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I went to a lot of trouble to see this film. As it has not been released yet on Region 2 I had to order it from America and buy a conversion disc for my PS2. It was all so worth it.

I admit that I was a fan of Tim Roth's before I saw this film, but now I am truly besotted. You never feel as if he is acting his part, it feels so true and real. There is no over dramatisation just truth and passion.

The chemistry between Julia and Tim is perfect for the believability of the story, why else would a professional woman have sex with a con in a public convenience, unless the heat between them was so intense nothing else mattered.

I love this film and I will be watching it most nights for a long time to come.

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9 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Ormond is beautiful, Roth is stunning, both are intense.

Author: Darrell Bibby from Boston, USA
29 December 1998

I just got finished viewing Captives and I liked it A lot. I guess it was Tim Roth's interaction with Ormond that drew me in and stopped me from switching channels. A lot of dialogue was spoken not with words, but with expressions. And the more I think about it, the more I feel the movie kept a constant level of tension throughout. As for believability, I know love can be blind, having been in love myself and that thought, for me, kept the movie alive. I give it a big thumb's up.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Very good! Tension and sexual chemistry in abundance.

Author: Jen-49 from Kansas City, MO
7 May 2000

I probably wouldn't have rented it if I realized it was a woman having an affair with a prisoner, so I'm glad I didn't know that or I would have missed out on this very good movie. As it was, it turned out to be more of what I expected - two people who had been drawn together by sexual chemistry being bonded together from a shared adversity. And the sexual chemistry and tension between Roth and Ormond (or, technically, their characters as portrayed by the two excellent actors) is very strong. This is one hot movie, and it manages to be so with no nudity (although, it does have a sex scene). The movie also keeps tension throughout by showing various people noticing them. That way, you really can't be sure who their future threat will be.

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8 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

"Prison romance" isn't just that

Author: Rachel Tulley from Omaha, Nebraska
6 December 1998

This movie's premise-a prisoner and outsider falling in love- may normally turn many people off. Surprisingly, is well-scripted, wonderfully filmed (some of the best camera shots and angles I've ever seen, and exceptionally well-performed. Julia Ormond, who I normally don't much care for, was wonderful. Tim Roth, as usual, blew me away. It remains one of the few movies I can watch repeatedly.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Engrossing romantic thriller

Author: LouE15 from United Kingdom
17 October 2006

I saw this film when it came out on British TV in the 1990s and it's remained embedded in my memory ever since. All young Hollywood directors should be contractually obliged to see "Captives" to see what real on-screen chemistry is like: the heat and intensity generated between leads Tim Roth and Julia Ormond just isn't something you see in every modern film, so much so that there were moments when I almost wanted to look away, embarrassed for their intimacy and urgency, shout "get a room!" – ah, but there's the rub – they can't. He's in prison; she's the visiting prison dentist, and they're caught in an impossible position that there's no easy escape from.

Others here have described the story well, so I won't cover that ground again. But it's exactly the kind of "little" British film I love to watch: when they're good, you're rewarded with an unusually good cast, a decent script and a neat premise that draws you in and grips you. The slightly unconvincing conclusion doesn't detract from how very enjoyable and stirring this film is.

"Captives" illustrates why Tim Roth deserved his reputation as an actor; but I'm sorry not to have seen more of Julia Ormond on screen since the 90s. Is it that she's in that twilight zone of female actresses, who suffer from the lack of good parts for women who don't look twenty years younger than their age?

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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Must see film

Author: karlalikescake from Winnipeg, Manitoba
16 October 2001

Even if you're not a fan of the great Tim Roth, "Captives" is a must see film. The story draws you in, along with the strong believable performances by Roth and Julia Ormond. The strong chemistry between those two is electric - you can literally feel the sparks. Bittersweet and touching, but also suspenseful. Be sure to check out this drama.

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