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I have to admit that I probably wouldn't have gone to cinema to see
this film if it wasn't for all the unneeded controversy surrounding
it's marketing campaign in the USA, but I guess that's a good thing as
it shows that the people who initiate that sort of thing usually just
end up helping the film in question to reach a wider audience. I have
to say that whoever it was that made such a fuss about the posters did
me a favour, as while Captivity isn't exactly a modern masterpiece;
it's certainly a decent little horror thriller, and I'm glad I went to
see it. The film focuses solely around Jennifer Tree, an actress who is
abducted and thrown into a basement dungeon from which there is no
escape and she is continually watched over by the psychopath who
abducted her; a man who also enjoys putting her through all manner of
sadistic and brutal torturing. Hope arises when she finds a man in the
cell next to her, and together they attempt to escape from the dungeon.
But as they face more sadism and torture, it turns out that the
situation isn't all it seems.
This film is obviously catching on to the 'torture porn' film type that seems to be dominating the horror genre recently (films such as Hostel and Saw being at the forefront), but while this doesn't add anything new; it is entertaining to watch, and that is really all that is important from this sort of film. The film is, surprisingly, directed by experienced director Roland Joffé, whose only other film I've seen is the Oscar nominated "The Killing Fields" - and this is nothing like it! (Though I'd say that's a good thing...). The screenplay was written by the great Larry Cohen, who you can always count on for an entertaining thrill ride, and while this isn't one of his best attempts; I'd pretty much say he delivered (it's better than Cellular, too). The twist in the middle can be seen coming a mile off, but that's not important either as the handling after the twist is good and with this, Cohen succeed in racketing the film up a notch. Captivity is very short at just 85 minutes, but I'd rather it be on the short side than feature a bucket load of filler like many films these days do. Overall, I won't say this is brilliant or a classic; but it's a more than decent horror thriller and I definitely recommend seeing it.
What Captivity lacks in innovation it makes up for in style. Say what
you will about plot holes and struggling performances, but the film
looks beautiful, sounds great, and the atmosphere of the film will stay
with you. Elisha Cuthbert's character is shallow, but appropriately so,
as a naive fashion model who, even while in the deepest pit of
misfortune, doesn't quite grasp what's going on. She keeps close to her
teddy bear, apologizes for no apparent reason, and cries single
tears... never ceasing to look picture perfect. (This is one gripe I
have with the film. The leading lady should show a little more wear and
tear, in my opinion.) I understand that the writer of Captivity claims
to have based the character on Paris Hilton, and while I don't entirely
believe that that's what the film was aiming for, it's an interesting
comparison. In light of Hilton's recent incarceration, it's also a bit
of commentary, however unintentional, on our culture's fascination with
celebrities, the desire to be close to them, and to possess a piece of
The looming, black gloved torturer is a smidge cliché, but it does the trick. It's a genre film, and certain symbols are to be expected and forgiven. Again, the set and sound design are spot-on, and that carries a lot of weaker areas through to the end.
The editing is very choppy, due in part to the fact that a large portion of the original movie was removed and replaced with new material shot long after the original version ended production. The result is a cut-and-paste appearance which actually works quite well, given all the time Cuthbert's character spends going in and out of consciousness. It's almost an art film effect, hypnotic and disorienting.
I'm a fan of the Saw series, and Hostel (not of Hostel 2). I enjoy
these types of movies and I'm only a tad ashamed. Call me a dumb,
violence seeking goon but these movies are entertaining.
What's this got to do with Captivity? Well, nothing really. I was drawn to this movie because I thought it was going to be another retelling of this sick sub-genre of horror that I do so love. I was sadly disappointed because this absolutely is not a "torture porn" movie. It would have been much more honest of the production company, After Dark Films, to say it was a thriller with slight torture porn inklings (very slight).
Maybe, the folks at After Dark didn't actually see the movie. What I saw was psychological in nature and dealt much more with assaults on the mind of those captive than it did with actual assaults on the bodies of those captive. Yes, there is some blood and some nasty gore but nothing like Saw or Hostel or even Touristas.
Understand that if you don't like Saw, Hostel etc., then this is a good choice for a horror/thriller to go see this weekend.
Now that that's out of the way I'll just say: It's not a great movie but adequate. A solid B-movie endeavor. Fun, kind of stupid at times, pretty good acting by the luscious Elisha Cuthbert (for the guys-your girlfriends might get jealous) and the director, Roland Joffe (best known for The Mission, The Killing Fields), imbued the entire film with a look that worked very well to be creepy and ominous. It moves fairly quickly, lags a bit in the middle and ends with a slightly predictable twist but really you don't care at that point because, surprise, you've been entertained. Well, at least I was even though my hunger for gore was only slightly abated.
Now, before a legion of cinema purists choke on their lattés, allow me to elaborate. Much as I enjoyed it, this is quite simply one of the worst films I have ever seen and is certainly the worst film I've seen at the cinema (an impressive claim, as I remember seeing Daredevil on the big screen). The two leads (Daniel Gillies and Elisha Cuthbert) were unconvincing at best and downright awful at worst. Of course, they weren't helped by a script that had as much emotional depth as a Daphne & Celeste single and characterisation that was about as convincing as the OJ defence. The plot (to stretch the term slightly) was thin to non-existent and the 'gore' scenes, whilst undoubtedly brutal, were irrelevant and laughably formulaic. What plot there is revolves around a twenty-something model (Cuthbert) who is abducted, imprisoned and subjected to various visceral tortures, both psychological and physical. The torture scenes feel like disconnected set pieces and the emphasis was laid squarely upon shocking rather than scaring the audience. Whilst there really are very, very few positives to draw from this film, its redeeming features are the very flaws that make it such a dreadful film. I have never heard a more vocal audience in a cinema. Within twenty minutes, the entire cinema was in stitches and remained that way throughout. For my part I came out flushed with laughter, buoyed by a film that had ascended to the pinnacle of appalling film-making. Whichever way you look at it, this is truly a cinematic achievement and a blueprint for future directorial wannabes detailing minutely how not to make a film.
P.S. I omitted to mention that I managed to get in to the film free...so I can afford to laugh about it. I was still tempted to ask for my money back...it really was THAT bad.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Captivity's credits bill it as "a Russian-American coproduction," and it damn near warms the cockles of one's heart to see that the two countries that nearly brought us nuclear war can come together to make a movie about torturing a supermodel (Elisha Cuthbert). Ah, capitalism. Surprising it took Lionsgate this long to do a decent rip-off of their Saw cash cow, but at least they took the time to do it right. Grungy warehouse rigged with ridiculously elaborate electronics, cameras, and traps? Check. Grotesque torture devices and "challenges" right out of a special snuff edition of Fear Factor? Definitely. Talented character actor (Pruitt Taylor Vince, in this case) cloaked in a black robe and a hidden agenda? You know it. Sure, there's no character development to speak of, and one or two plot points make no sense at all, but director Roland Joffe makes things visually interesting and aurally unsettling, and the story from B-movie maestro Larry Cohen keeps it simple: Girl needs to escape, but bad sh*t keeps happening. Screw the culture cops who freaked out over Captivity's graphic poster and always cry "torture porn"this is a gleefully nasty piece of red meat for horror hounds that delivers as promised. (from the OC Weekly)
You see I saw another movie yesterday (9 July 07) about being trapped
in a room which may have been to the detriment of Captivity. While in
general the idea was good there was something not quite thrilling
enough. Captivity borrowed from a smattering of other movies without
really living up to any of them.
It was nice to see Elisha doing something different, and as always pleasant enough to see her in a film.. but I felt little empathy for her character or indeed, that of her companion.
Not psychological enough to be another Silence of the Lambs or 1408, and not horror / gore enough to be another Saw, Cube or Hostel.
I had pretty low expectations for this, so when it turned out to be not that bad (almost, dare i say, pretty... good?) I left the theater extremely enthusiastic. It delivers, believe it or not, a complete, if not well-rounded story. Here it is, in a sentence: Jennifer Tree is a beautiful young fashion model getting things she doesn't deserve and deciding she needs to get the hell out. Elisha Cuthbert plays the lead, and she looks phenomenal. Even while she is being held captive, her "damsel in distress" act makes great cinema. Always nice to see a girl that's been passed off as a dumb blond get up and kick some ass. I know there are people that feel otherwise about this movie but hey- I liked it! So there!
I liked the movie for what it is, a movie to pass the time on a rainy
Unfortunately, the story is not that great. And with an avalanche of similar themed movies recently, this one really needed to shine to stick its head out above the rest. Don't expect too much of it. One known actress doesn't make a good movie, so don't blame one person for the script etc. Still worth seeing if you're invited by someone else to see it.
The end of the movie could have been with a bit more suspense I thought.
I didn't really want to see this movie. I'm not much into the genre and
frankly I was kind of angered by the billboards that got taken down.
But there was not much else to go see if you're not a Harry Potter fan.
I was pleasantly, rather, unpleasantly surprised.
This is good thriller. I loved Elisha Cuthbert. I thought she did a great job. I was plenty scared and truly worried for her. There is some pretty hot stuff between her and Daniel Gilles. Gilles has a chance to be another Hollywood heartthrob. I believed in her character and cared about what happened to her.
It's not at all what I expected from this movie. Though there are pretty gratuitous torture scenes most of the movie was internal and really tackled fear unlike I've seen in a movie before. It not anything like Hostel or Saw both of which I didn't care for.
I'd recommend this for anyone who wants a good thrill and doesn't mind blood and gore.
I saw this movie at a test shoot. I thought it was alright. I think it is good that the main character is played by someone who isn't emaciated. She actually looks like a real person, although she is playing a model. There was not as much gore as I would have thought. I read they are re-shooting parts to make it more gory. I think the set is really cool. It looks like a cellar but it has a lot of random technology in it. The two people who are captured scratch messages back and forth to each other with the lighting it is a cool visual effect. I thought the twist was played out well, I think if the movie was a bit faster paced it would have worked better. I think it was worth seeing, but i'm really curious to see what changes they made I heard the changed the ending which I think could be really cool.
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