Captive State (2019) Poster


User Reviews

Review this title
241 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
Beware of Greeks bearing gifts
FrenchEddieFelson5 April 2019
A powerful alien invasion... A surrender to avoid an ineluctable annihilation... The whole humanity under alien domination... After this quick introduction, we elliptically switch nine years later, without really understanding how the human/alien cohabitation works. But this is unimportant: 'Captive State' is a thriller full of undercover agents, spies, policemen, ... and a few aliens. The atmosphere is dark and hardly optimistic. The story takes place in Chicago in the near future and that, in some respects, looks like Paris, between June 14, 1940 and August 24, 1944, with resistance fighters and collaborators, and with aliens instead of German soldiers.

First thing first, this is not an action / war movie, in a science fiction context. And absolutely not a pop corn movie! The actors (especially John Goodman), the photography, the special effects, the atmosphere, ... that's heavy! Nevertheless, the script is messy: we must wait for the very last scene in order to stick the pieces back together and have a global picture. The realization is sometimes clumsy which may confuse the audience: some people left the movie theater during the screening I attended. Personally, it took me a while to understand and appreciate this story. Slightly frustrating.
84 out of 122 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
This is NOT an action movie, and that's a good thing.
ThePlagueLegion15 March 2019
Written and Directed by Rupert Wyatt, CAPTIVE STATE follows several characters and multiple perspectives in a Chicago neighborhood in a world completely operated by an extraterrestrial force known as 'The Legislators'. The film portrays numerous aspects of this alien occupation, and chronicles the both sides of a brewing conflict between the human race and the aliens.

This is an extremely unique and likely very polarizing movie. Rather than a blockbuster-actioner laden with huge visual effects, CAPTIVE STATE is a somber look at 9 years after the major war has already occurred. What would usually be our primary focus is the framework of the story, which instead is much more of a political-espionage thriller with sci-fi elements. This automatically may be a turn off for some, but I found myself consistently intrigued and excited by the events that play out in the story. Aliens appear throughout the film but only in glimpses and from a far, usually. However, when we do see them up close, the effects work is actually quite impressive for a film made on $25 million. Not all the CG work is great but for the most part, much of it is very seamless and realistic in appearance. The creature design is also very well-done. The Legislators are extremely intimidating antagonists that, despite rarely seeing them in full, maintain a presence over the entire film. Some characters refer to the beings as 'Roaches', due to their insectoid behaviors and language, which consists of strange clicks, gurgles and buzzing. The sound design for these aliens is particularly effective, with many sequences upping the suspense due simply to the offscreen sounds of The Roaches, especially during a key scene toward the third act. The film succeeds in making us very intimidated of The Roaches, despite their infrequent appearances.

It's unfortunate that Captive State has a very unfocused structure. Scenes jump from character to character, with the closest thing resembling a lead being John Goodman's character Bill Mulligan. We never really manage to feel invested in every one of these characters, and instead can only attach to a few. Goodman easily has the best part, with his ambiguous morals and stern demeanor keeping him a very believable, restrained character that steals most of his scenes. Ashton Sanders is very good as another sorta-lead, Gabriel, and several character actors (Alan Ruck, James Ransone, Kevin Dunn) turn in very layered, realistic performances. It's the performances, really, that come through in the end and make us care. Director Wyatt seems much more interested in focusing on the event and entire system of society under alien oppression, rather than the lives and details of each and every one of his characters. In some ways, this is a detriment, as it makes some payoffs feel very numb and sorta empty. But in other ways (which I will not spoil), the restraint on developing the characters pays off completely, as we manage to attach ourselves to them based solely on subtle performances and small character ticks that recur throughout the film. Some dialogue is admittedly clunky, and again, some emotional weight is removed with some of these character's fates when we hardly know some of their names. However, Rupert Wyatt clearly respects his audience, using visuals and limited information a create a very gloomy, suspenseful atmosphere that consistently kept me on edge. The lack of detail on the alien species and their capabilities puts us in the same position as the human characters -- in the dark, scrambling to make it in this ruthless setting.

This, as well as the numerous other pros and a hefty load of solid social commentary, are enough to redeem CAPTIVE STATE of it's scripting faults and jumbled structure. An enthusiastic 7/10.
119 out of 186 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The only thing they held Captive was my patience while watching this movie
DJesusUncrossed21 March 2019
After seeing the first trailer for this movie, I thought this would be thought provoking sci-fi movie. That being said, this movie does not provoke any thoughts at all. It's badly written, directed, edited, and shot. The movie itself is ambiguous, without subtlety, or care for the craft being put onto the screen.

What does this mean? Well for starters, the editing is just plain bad, cutting to different angles every two seconds to pointless close-up reactions of characters, which brings no impact to a scene whatsoever. There's a huge lack of shots that go beyond 10 seconds, making it a headache to know or notice certain elements of the set. It reminded of the god awful "Oscar winning" Bohemian Rhapsody, which couldn't stand switching angles at each word being said. There's no focus on a single character in each scene, often talking about set pieces that we can't even see due to the obnoxious editing the movies has.

Speaking of no focus, the writing in this movie was just held captive by the amount of pointless montages, characters, and unneeded ambiguity to the overall story being told. Often times when a character is introduced we focus on him/her for a few scenes before disappearing and showing up after 20 minutes. There's also just so many pointless montages in the movie, like most of the second act is just convoluted with scenes that just make no sense at all. Which brings me to my biggest point in the writing. What was the point at all? The writing is needlessly ambiguous and mysterious that it's seemingly all over the place. I know that too much exposition is bad, but having no exposition at all in a movie that's the sci-fi equivalent of Liam Neeson's Taken, just makes me scratch my head. Like where did this come from? What is that thing he has there? Who is this character who just appeared? Why are they in this place now? It's all just so mysterious and fast paced at the same time, that it just doesn't make any sense at all.

This brings me to the biggest flaw of this movie, the directing. When you have a screenplay as ambiguous as this one, you'd expect a little more subtlety in the visuals, shot compositions, pacing, and overall flow of the story. Instead it's all just so heavily fast paced that is counteracts with the ambiguity the screenplay has set the movie up. Often times the movies would just be trapped in this roundabout of shots, that just seem so uninteresting and repetitive. And I know this film has a short budget, and if that would be the case, then why would most of the visuals be so "in your face" at times. And these visuals are not good looking as well, a lot of the times they are badly rendered, looking like a villain from a Power Rangers show. These flaws just make the story and script look so much worse, a good director would've have had tried to make all that work at visually or technically.

Captive State is a movie that will want you test your patience with a film that's ironically holding itself captive. The editing almost gave me a headache, the screenplay was somehow over and underwritten at the same time, and the directing is just so awful that it just breaks the movie apart even more.

I was pissed because the story and the world had potential, but everyone who worked on the movie didn't want to use that potential. If you like John Goodman, sci-fi movies, or the two combined (my reason for watching this movie) then go watch it. But overall, this movie was more disappointing than my divorce. I'd give this shit show a 3/10.
145 out of 237 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Captive State: When metaphor replaces story
nkgenovese-118 March 2019
This movie had the potential to be a good alien invasion film: Set several years after aliens conquer Earth, this film focuses on a Chicago neighborhood where a resistance cell is planning to fight back.

The problem is that the film is too grim and cheerless for its own good. Admittedly, there are a lot of excellent sci-fi films that have a similar tone (see Blade Runner). However, those movies also had strong character beats and great performances.

Meanwhile, this film can't even decide who the main characters are. The film begins by following John Goodman and Ashton Sanders' respective characters. There is a ten minute long sequence introducing a mostly new cast of characters over a half hour into the film. We don't spend enough time with any one character to get emotionally invested in them and, as a result, there's no emotional investment in the final product. This makes the film a rather dreary affair, no matter who lives or dies, the audience doesn't care.
94 out of 153 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
TakeUpReel25 March 2019
There is no character development. I didn't care what happened to any of the characters, because I didn't learn a lot about most of the characters.

The script/plot is a jumbled, boring mess.

The ending was obvious, but by the time things started to come together, it didn't matter.

This could have been an interesting story, but the execution fell flat.
66 out of 107 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A painful waste of 1 hour and 40 minutes
josephdrew-1462329 May 2019
I don't know where to start because this movie doesn't even know where it's going. The first hour of the movie has no action or aliens yet the trailer made it look like some cool action movie. There is absolutely no character building so you don't give a crap about the cast to the point where you don't even know who is who or what the character's names are. Do yourself a favor if you are thinking about watching this movie and don't. A waste of time, money and film.
108 out of 184 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Hang in there
drjgardner16 March 2019
Several times a year I am tempted to walk out on a film because I don't like it, but I stay with the hopes that by the end it will somehow turn the corner. This is one of those films. The first 40 minutes is unengaging, with a series of characters we know little about and care about even less. Slowly but surely it turns the corners, and the hints, which are abundant, begin to make sense.

I really liked the aliens who are unlike any aliens we've ever seen before. Kudos to the people who thought this up.

In retrospect, the seemingly random flashes of the lives of a dozen people, makes sense and the film makers are trying to give you the feeling of the operations of a cell, where different people are acting independently. It works, but the price is a loss of engagement with any of the characters.

Definitely worth a look.
85 out of 143 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Enjoyed a New Take on Alien Rebellion
porceline-p17 March 2019
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. Be sure to read/listen to the beginning backstory to understand the setting. I would have been lost without it. Just from that beginning I knew I was in for a different ride. The movie made me think about why things played out like it did and it all made since. I was exited internally for the ending and was thinking, "F*$k yeah, get them SOB's!" I hope the movie does well, because I'd love to see where the story could lead. There are so many mysteries! This movie makes you think a little so, viewers who only like action, gore, and lots if creatures onscreen may be disappointed. This movie is more-so for the strategists and thinkers.
81 out of 143 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Unexpected; a movie that will push to deep thinking
abisio15 March 2019
Captive State is about aliens controlling Earth. There concept has been used before but this time the scenario is different and original. After 10 years of Earth controlled by aliens from outer space, big city become governed by politicians who must personally report to an alien governor leaving underground. As in occupation situations collaborationist are rich and live with luxury while common people are exploited (in this case mining naturally resources from the planet for the invaders.). Invaders also push technology back several years (the movie occurs in 2027 but there is no internet or cellphones or digital technology). Some people formed a terrorist group to get rid of the invaders and shut down the corrupt collaborationist government. Those expecting an action packed movie with invincibly heroes will be somewhat disappointed. There are some violent scenes but the focus shift to many different people who in their heroic or coward way make up the story. For those he have no idea how terrorism work; let me explain that this is Terrorism 101. Every basic detail about cells, is explained and or used; as are also the not legal government methods to combat it. However; think for a moment that heroes here are the terrorists. Acting is quite acceptable. As always, John Goodman in auto pilot carries most of the movie; but the rest of the cast do not fall behind. The ending; is not Hollywood style and quite dramatic. In brief; it is not a popcorn movie but one to think about particularly about the situation in many countries
126 out of 230 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Why was this movie made
compuro21 March 2019
I kept waiting for a plot to materialize. It never did.
110 out of 200 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Solid SciFi - Take the "Colony Test" First
brooks25028 March 2019
I liked this movie, and I'm so glad I mostly ignored the negative reviews and saw this in the theater (just me and a young couple at a matinee). I won't repeat the points other positive reviews have made. But it's worth noting that if you liked the USA Network TV show "Colony" centered on the alien takeover of the planet, specifically Los Angeles, there's a 95% chance you'll get into this story fairly quickly. That's not to say that "Captive State" is a "Colony" knock off. The TV show had weeks to build story, characters and post-invasion background. A two-hour movie doesn't have time for that kind of depth and relies on viewers paying extra-close attention to lots of little details, which can be jarring and confusing. This movie is not a dumb, sci-fi shoot-out with the evil invaders: our tough guy/gal military and scrappy civilians outsmarting and outshooting aliens at every turn. As Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson speculated: "If aliens are technically advanced enough to get here across the vastness of space, they're powerful enough to wipe us out if they want to. Therefore, This movie is about limited choices, degrees of collaboration and insurgency. Question: Is our human world as we've made it so far worth preserving and fighting for if aliens can actually run things better?
45 out of 77 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Well done - do not pay attention to critics
petera00-177-10559115 March 2019
This is probably the best sci fi movie to come out since Children of Men. The reviews I've read from this are atrocious... Den of Geek says that the scenes just "happen." What?! Isn't that what a movie should be? Geekwire says that the movie lacks a presence of aliens.... WHAT?! This is a thinking man's sci fi with some of the most tense scenes filmed that I've seen for a long time. This is what would happen in a police state.... Go into it with a fresh approach and you will leave ultimately satisfied. Don't go into it thinking it's some super hero movie... Because honestly Joseph Campbell's a heros journey can only be told so many times. And in all honestly - this is the best movie thus far of 2019.
123 out of 236 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Solid Movie for Those Who PayAttention
Mehki_Girl16 March 2019
Warning: Spoilers
At first you're confused and not sure about what is really going on and maybe a trifle bored.

Stick with it. The aliens are original and terrifying. So is the plot. This movie is an original and clever take on alien invasion.

There is a very clever subplot (or the main plot?) about the haves and havenots, political propaganda, people drinking the koolaid, rich versus the poor, exploitation, cowardly politicians, man's will to survive, and ordinary women and men willing to sacrifice everything for freedom with a little 1984 thrown in.

John Goodman is good at always. You'll see some surprise famous faces scattered throughout in small parts. This movie wasn't hyped and that's too bad. This movie requires you to psy attention, but not suspend your disbelief. The payoff is rewarding and the movie will stick you for a while.
73 out of 136 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Just another film misrepresented by its own trailer.
nicholass10922 March 2019
Warning: Spoilers
For the past few months, I've been getting bombarded with trailers for this film. Making it seem like a sci-fi action thriller with really interesting characters plotting a way to survive an alien invasion. What it's really about, is Chicago surviving alien occupation, if you came for epic battles or even more than 3 or four scenes of action, you'll be sorely disappointed.

The film starts out as a shakey-cam action movie, showing a car desperately trying to escape a cordoned off Chicago. This is where I felt most mislead, you're following this family around as they're running from cops, breaking through roadblocks and you're aching to find out why, obviously you know this movie has something to do with aliens, and you're hoping it's not another cloverfield or other cheap alien movie where you never see who the hell the enemy is, and then you're greeted by one of the creepiest aliens ever conceived by a concept artist. Relief instantly comes over you as you realize you're not going to sit for 2 hours just to see stock footage of public disasters and a giant alien leg and you think "ok this can't be that bad if I've already seen some aliens". Then the worst happens. A flash forward, nearly 10 years later you're in dystopian Chicago, waiting nearly an hour to see some kind of action. The entire movie is about a resistance cell planning to rid the city of the aliens once and for all. But the individual scenes don't really connect that well, one moment you're watching John Goodman drive through the Chicago streets like he's the newest member to the fast and the furious cast, then you're watching him get felt up by some woman and you can't even understand why, then you're watching the protaganist wander from place to place seemingly aimlessly, then you're watching a heist-film-like planning operation take place, then BOOM explosions-gunfire yada yada yada. More melodrama. Aliens land. Catch the resistance scum, generic torture scene, protaganist helps the bad guy to save his friend, bla bla bla, main bad guy was just a double agent the whole time, epic explosions (off screen) and the credits roll as you watch a Tom Clancy map of the world being taken over again by humans. Yay earth. What a waste of time. If you're like me and you don't like waiting two hours to find out what you're watching, then don't waste your time on this film. I'm upset that I spend 33 bucks to take myself and my girlfriend to see this film. We were both disappointed.
65 out of 120 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Wow people are Dumb
pstu-209657 June 2019
People have become so lazy they can no longer think. This movie is AMAZING!!! You must be able to access your brain to enjoy. It's not a bang bang shoot em up action movie. No superheroes, no bubblegum plot. It's for the thinkers that still exist in this world. I almost didn't watch it because of the reviews. What a shame that would have been. This is my first post ever. I'm only posting because of the anger I feel towards the morons that 1-3 starred this movie. It's a 10 all the way.

Love- The Legislature
22 out of 38 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Mixture of movies gone wrong.
ganstylemusic2 April 2019
It is like mixture between War Of The Worlds & District 9 but really gone bad.
48 out of 93 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Left me feeling like a captive 😣
loveblackpoem16 March 2019
This film has a ridiculously convoluted storyline that makes it difficult to follow and it eventually loses you. Captive State is a different type of alien movie with some interesting points, but the drawn out story and mediocre acting make the film intolerable. It's definitely not worth seeing in the theaters.
81 out of 167 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
No script. The work of an incompetent fool.
lanceaugust123 March 2019
When I say there is no script I mean there is no begining, no middle, and no ending. This movie is a series of scenes which barely hold your attention. We never see the alien force. We have no reference point for who the 'bad guys' are. We only see the collaborators who spy on the general population. I felt robbed by the filmaker. Selling tickets to this atrocity is an act of misrepresentation. It is fraud to sell tickets to this "movie". It is not entertaining. This director should be forced to surrender his Director's Guild card; he should be expelled from the writer's guild and be forced to return to film school.
42 out of 82 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
What did I watch?
timeblank17 March 2019
You know I thought this movie was to fight the alien government. I thought their was going to be a revolution to fighting back. However the Revolution just gave up and felt so flat. What was the point of this film? Where's the war? Too much they were showing random characters. Not knowing their purpose and where was it going? I don't get the political assassination attempt. So many unanswered questions. It was truly terrible.
55 out of 111 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Someone Should Be Fired
jmholmes-7372723 March 2019
Whoever gave the "go ahead" for this movie to be released to theaters should never be put in that position of power again. The first forty-five minutes depicts a rather large cast in various states of anxiety and fear. It has something to do with aliens who have taken over much of our planet and pose a constant threat. Occasionally we see John Goodman, who might be a law enforcement type on the track of someone or something. Much is made of a need to journey across a lake for some purpose of survival. And a rally is scheduled. An alien having large octopus sucker cups makes an appearance after twenty minutes, and we get our hopes up . . . But this is a hopeless mess of a movie - unless the second half miraculously becomes focused and coherent. This game viewer did not stay to find out.
63 out of 129 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Buy a tripod?
esweet-154-19126015 March 2019
Warning: Spoilers
I wanted this to be great. I like John Goodman in most anything he does and Vera is the same. So where does it go off the rails, apparently right off the dolly rails, right from the beginning. Blair witch wasn't so scary people left the theatres puking, they were suffering from motion sickness. Today's kitschy action camera move is to forget about any rigging and just run with it. In fact it sometimes looked like the editing suite added some jittery rhythmic plug ins of their own. That this cheap trick is already trite and tired is enough that it's starting to fade from popularity. The hold outs use it for only the most dire sequences and typically only in lazy B and even C action movies. It was used with moderation in No Country for Old Men, Sicario liked it, heck even Spielberg has tried it out, but none of them from opening to closing credits. This movie had potential. The creatures are new to me but looked born of anime origins, unfortunately we see their armour skinned versions in first few minutes and have their urchin shells peeled back to reveal the dying bogeyman soon after. Tada!, now what to do for the next one hundred minutes. The plot echoes some of the real world news cycles, the nation divided ripe with alterior motives or greed, if you dug a bit it felt like the story they were trying to tell. That good wins out over evil eventually. Unfortunately the character development is weak and disjointed. There are frial bones of some decent storytelling in the body of the script but it never presents itself well enough for you to attach to the characters. The 'weapons' or powers used to off the humans is interesting but it's been done before too. Check out War of the Worlds, circa Cruise. I expected some Cloverfield camera movements having seen the trailers and planned ahead taking a gravol, I should have taken the nighttime version and simply slept thru this one, would have been better use of my two hours. I like to find at least some positives in a film, films are the culmination of many people's efforts, this is one film that I can't find one except maybe some trademark canned expressions we all enjoy from John and Vera, Ferris Buellers Alan Ruck is a surprise, Ashton Sanders, Transformers Dad Kevin Dunn and a less comical than usual character played by Kevin J O'Connor. Save your money, it's not even a popcorn romp, wait for this one on Netflix.
43 out of 87 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Such a confusing, frustrating movie!
billymurbill17 March 2019
This movie was a very frustrating experience. All the characters and plot premises are presented in a very confusing, indirect way and nothing is showed directly. A lot of the characters were boring and static. There were some really cool ideas but the movie managed to suck all the entertainment out of them. Every time you think something cool is going to happen, the scene would cut and then another, boring scene would start. It was really frustrating being deprived of the satisfaction of seeing a cool scene. I would give this movie a lower score because it was probably one of the worst sci-fi movies I've ever seen. A good sci-fi film immerses you a new universe, but this movie just gave you incoherent glances at that universe. However the story did have some cool sci-fi concepts and the story was kind of cool beneath all the other crap. I'm just glad I was able to watch this using my AMC A-Stubs and didn't have to pay full price for a ticket to see it.
42 out of 85 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Don't Believe The Critics
traceemporter17 March 2019
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. I didn't find it confusing at all you just have to pay attention! So, for you people that have ADHD, just be sure to take your ritalin before you go and see it. That way you'll be able to sit still and concentrate! It is an engaging and deliberate movie with a few interesting plot twists. Did I figure them out before they happened? Yes, I did but I still enjoyed watching them unfold. Just give the movie a chance, it will be worth it.
76 out of 167 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Total waste of time.
aspartak17 March 2019
I went to the movie with high expectations after watching the trailer. I didn't believe the reviews thinking that others simply didn't understand this type of movies. I was infact totally wrong, bad storyline, bad acting. Total waste of time.
45 out of 95 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Bad Bad Bad Bad Bad
matthewssilverhammer22 March 2019
Captive State is the kind of high-minded sci-fi that's so obnoxiously low on entertainment value that it's shocking it ever made it to theaters. Like a Netflix original movie that the company chose to bury under copious reruns of "The Office", it barely exists in the minds of the public, and that is totally fine. It's a convoluted and boring alien invasion drama that spends its abundant runtime ( was only 100 minutes???) bluntly beating us over the head with its class warfare themes. The film opens with a family being attacked by a small swarm of bug-like extra-terrestrials in a city tunnel. It's a decent little suspense scene from which the movie never comes close to replicating. Instead, it bogs the screen down with hideous visuals, illegible action and colorless characters, desperately trying to make us care about the new social order this alien race (who are shrouded in oppressive darkness) has created, and root for a small faction of dissidents (who have as much personality as an extra on "NCIS") trying to bring an end to the oppression. By the end, the story has devolved into complete confusion; not because the movie requires complexity but simply because it's being told so poorly. It's a critical cliché, but it really is a hot mess. However, unlike most messes, this one isn't interesting; it's just utterly disposable. As soon as the film starts, you're sure a "twist" is coming (there is), and even more sure that you will be disappointed by it (you will be). Even with a large Diet Coke and a bag of Sour Patch Kids, I found it hard to stay awake. If you wanna see a criminally underrated sci-fi film about class, go see Alita.
30 out of 62 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed