As a struggling meth addict, Ashley Smith is trying to get her life together so that she can regain custody of her young daughter. She is intent on starting a new life for herself, but she is still wrestling with the demons of her past. Her life is turned upside down one night when she is taken hostage by a madman who has been making his way across the state of Georgia, leaving murder victims in his wake. Ashley is sure her life is over, until she begins to see a new side to the killer. In the span of a tense 12 hours, Ashley finds she has more in common with him than she previously thought and tries to teach him (while teaching herself) that his life has more meaning than just crime.
Production Quality (1.5 points)
Plenty of money was dedicated to this ‘pop-up’ film, and it mostly pays off. The sets, locations, and props are very realistic and capture the true story well. The soundtrack is highly effective for the suspense genre and is not typical of Christian film. However, there are some minor issues that keep this movie from being all that it could be. For one, the use of the suspenseful shaky cam idea is a bit overused. While the video quality and lighting are mostly good, there are some scenes where it is not. Finally, there are too many dead scenes where nothing is accomplished except for staring. Overall, this is a pretty good production that puts a lot of bad movies to shame, but with the money and backing it had, it should have been better.
Plot and Storyline Quality (1.5 points)
When in doubt about writing a plot, use a true story. It’s almost always better to portray real events than fictional ones, unless you’re really good at writing complex plots. Real life is far more complex than fiction. Captive meaningfully portrays real events and real struggles people go through. Uncomfortable realities such as drug addiction and recidivism are handled properly. The characters are developed fairly well through above-average dialogue, but we would have liked to see more here. Some of the characters need more obvious backstories that perhaps could have been portrayed through flashbacks. The idea behind this plot seems stretched out a little too long and but the end, the storyline has overstayed its welcome. For this story to be as long as it was and fully interesting the entire time, it needed deeper content. But as it is, this is an enjoyable plot that is sure to leave its mark.
Acting Quality (3 points)
In a change from most Christian films, the acting is easily this film’s strongest aspect. Emotions are portrayed extremely well. Cast members showcase diverse acting skills such as effectively pretending to be high. Mental illness is portrayed poignantly. Intense and suspenseful scenes are played professionally. This is a casting and acting job to be proud of and one that can serve as a textbook example of how to act.
Like it’s always good to see real life portrayed in film, it’s also great when a Christian movie finally breaks into a new genre. Suspense is underused in Christian movies and is hardly done well. Captive makes a statement and will always serve as an example to follow, but we always think of what could have been. This creation was so close to the Hall of Fame and we hate to see potential go to waste. But still, many will find enjoyment in this film as it effectively delivers its intended message. We are intrigued to see if this team will produce anything else in the future.
Final Rating: 6 out of 10 points
This movie was actually very good in many ways, yet frustratingly disappointing in others. As your said, some of the scenes drag on for too long, and others are too slow to keep an audiences’ attention. However, in general this movie is an enjoyable experience, as the positives outweigh the negatives. I especially liked the way drug addiction and mental illness were portrayed, mainly because many other films have tried and failed to portray this issue. The movie could have done without the appearance of Rick Warren at the end, however, as a whole this film is worth watching. The same can’t be said for many movies under the Christian genre.