After a decade since an extraterrestrial force has occupied our planet, deceiving humanity with the promise of peace and unity, Chicago Police Officer William Mulligan (John Goodman) is tasked with maintaining law and order in a city on the brink of rebellion. Gabriel (Ashton Sanders); the young brother of a fallen militant and the son of Mulligan’s ex-partner, is faced with the crucial choice: Collaborate…or fight back. Also starring Vera Farmiga, Captive State is unlike any future world ever imagined. Captive State is a 2019 American crime science fiction thriller film directed by Rupert Wyatt and co-written by Wyatt and Erica Beeney.
I’m afraid many people will find Captive State a strange sort of movie, if they’re able to follow along, that is. It’s a powerful alien invasion type film, with mankind surrendering to avoid an inevitable annihilation. The entire planet is under alien domination. That being said, I very much found it more to be a cops and robbers sort of a movie rather than mainly sci-fi. I don’t mean that aliens are not present because they very much are, and even more, they are not friendly at all. It’s just that the film seemed more about getting the bad guys than anything else, like a suspenseful thriller, full of spies and undercover agents. So if you are expecting a lot of sci-fi, or hard-core fight action, this isn’t the movie.
The story takes place in a bleak futuristic version of Chicago, placed under martial law sometime around 2027. We follow a family as they attempt to flee in a scene that plays out more like they are running from the police. A shakey-cam shows their car desperately trying to escape through Chicago as it breaks through roadblocks. After running through an unmanned barricade, their car stops inside a long dark tunnel where extraterrestrials are waiting at the other end. Before they can think of what to do next, they try to put the car in reverse when all of a sudden the aliens attack, vaporizing both the father and mother in the front of the car but leaving their two sons alive in the back.
After this brief introduction, we flash forward, nearly 10 years later to a dystopian Chicago, completely operated by an extraterrestrial force known as ‘The Legislators’. In the years after Earth’s surrender, the aliens have conscripted humans to build suitable habitats for them far underground called “Closed Zones”, walled off from the rest of the city with access only granted to high government officials. The film portrays numerous aspects of this alien occupation and chronicles both sides of a brewing conflict between the human race and the aliens. We now follow several characters and multiple perspectives of a Chicago neighborhood in this profoundly dark atmospheric film where a resistance cell is planning to fight back.
My main gripe with this film was the fact that I did not seem to care a great deal about any of the characters, not a one. They all played their parts well enough, but there simply was not enough time allotted to any of them, especially the main ones, for me to become emotionally invested in them. And as a sad result, there was no emotional investment in the final product either. So, no matter who lived or died, I didn’t seem to care all that much. That’s the one thing that really burns my ass in movies because I love caring about the characters and when I not caring about them, I feel cheated. Another thing was that the scenes jumped around from person to person way too quickly, and some people did a sort of disappearing act altogether, seeming to only pop back in to play their next part. Some characters I had no idea why they were there at all, they did not fill any neede4d parts what so ever. Still, this is hardly a reason for anyone to not be able to still enjoy it because it really was a good flick, one that I’m almost positive will be misunderstood and badly reviewed by many.
All in all, Captive State is a thinking man’s movie, so if you don’t pay attention, it might be hard to identify who is on which side. These moments also make the film a bit more lengthy compared to how it began. This is also a film that does not skimp on the special effects either. It successfully intertwined suspense, drama, mystery, and action all in one. As for the story, acting, cinematography, everything seemed to work well together and create a dark atmosphere and the sense of deep oppression, hopelessness, and despair. If I had to choose my most enjoyable moment, I’d have to say it would be the sound effects. They were simply amazing and terrifying to me, causing fear to build up by sound alone from the aliens without actually being able to see them often. It keeps the movie in a ‘Captive state’ indeed, which is the whole point of it…right?
Title: Captive State
Release Date: March 15, 2019
Runtime: 1 hour, 49 minutes
Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Studio: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
Starring: John Goodman, Ashton Sanders, Jonathan Majors, Vera Farmiga
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Director(s): Rupert Wyatt
Reviewed by: Mad Hatter
Our Rating: 3.4 /5
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