Captive State – Director: Rupert Wyatt
This rather slickly made sci-fi movie was dropped unceremoniously in theatres this week. It’s a little surprising considering that director Rupert Wyatt was recently a director to watch for after making Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the first film in that rebooted trilogy. Well, sci-fi is like cat nip to me so I saw it so that you don’t have to!
The film has a rather intriguing premise; it takes place years after an alien invasion, when the presence of aliens has become normalized. While the aliens leech the Earth, life proceeds pretty much business as usual under the alien overlords. The rich among the humans work for the aliens; they are so eager to keep what they have that they are blind to what the aliens may be planning. It is generally left up to the poor to form a resistance. So we also have a nice little allegory about the rich destroying the environment or perhaps any real world foreign occupation… but the film doesn’t work. What went wrong?
The problem with beginning in the middle of the story is that it feels like watching the middle episodes of a tv series. There are too many characters with little or no backstory so we don’t empathize or even fully understand what roles they have. The main character, if there is one, is a poor young man named Gabriel who is played by Moonlight’s Ashton Sanders. Gabriel gets mixed up in the insurgency and Sanders is fine but we don’t really care about him, his character is kind of a passive participant in the events of the movie… and he disappears from the movie for a long stretch.
Captive State has a good concept and some nice visuals but it is failed by a poor script with too many bland and indistinct characters. Rating: 5/10