Captive: A Pleasant Surprise

Captive, a recently-released film directed by Jerry Jameson, is based off of the true events that occurred in 2005 – alleged rapist Brian Nichols escaped from the county jail and held Ashley Smith hostage in her own home for seven hours.

I was enormously pleased to find that Captive was a good-quality, well-made movie. It is so common, at least in my experience, for Christian films to be low-budget and to prominently feature poor acting, cheesy lines, unrealistic sermonizing, and in-your-face preachiness.

Captive, fortunately, was something different in the way of Christian films.

Other Christian filmmakers could learn a thing or two from it.

Kate Mara and David Oyelowo – who virtually make up the entire cast of this film – steal the show. Obviously seasoned actors in their own right, it is even more enjoyable to watch them interact. Their on-screen chemistry is simply fantastic.

Can I just that I love the idea of hostage situation stories?

Because I do. So much.

The tension is fabulous, for one thing. Another thing I like is that it presents a unique opportunity for the audience to get to know the characters in a way they normally can’t.

Most movies cover a period of months or even years. Hostage situations usually only last a day or two – which means that the audience gets to see almost every detail of that time. This allows them to bond to the characters in an intimate way that most movies don’t create.

Not to mention that it forces the characters themselves to bond intensely, which is always fun to watch. I, for one, love watching close relationships develop between characters.

The only thing that messed up this movie for me was the ending.

It felt abrupt and left me wanting something. Closure… or more resolution, perhaps.

And it made it out like Nichols was the bad guy. Which, of course, he was.

But isn’t that the whole point of the movie? Or did I miss something?

I thought that the whole point was that two broken people collided and found a measure of healing by spending that seven hours with one another.

That Nichols was, in some ways, just as much of a captive as Ashley was. I mean, where could he go? He was trapped. Every bit as trapped as she was.

It seemed almost like Ashley was betraying him, by leaving.

In reality, Ashley did an incredibly brave thing. Something that is to be applauded. She did the right thing.

But Nichols, in the movie at least, is a vulnerable, slightly unstable man. And it feels like a betrayal to use his trust in Ashley against him that way. A bit of a slap in the face to their so-called “friendship.”

Toward the end of the movie, it seems like the makers lost sight of the fact that Ashley Smith was not the only who found healing, redemption, and hope that night.

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