(US - 2019)
Directed by Rupert Wyatt. Written by Erica Beeney and Rupert Wyatt. Cast: John Goodman, Ashton Sanders, Vera Farmiga, Jonathan Majors, Kevin Dunn, James Ransone, Alan Ruck, Kevin J. O'Connor, Colson Baker, Madeline Brewer, Ben Daniels, D.B. Sweeney, Caitlin Ewald, KiKi Layne, Lawrence Grimm, Guy Van Swearingen, Rene Moreno, Michael Collins, Marc Grapey. (PG-13, 109 mins)
Sometimes, flawed films that don't quite knock it out of the park end up being more interesting and more worthy of study than those we deem "great." CAPTIVE STATE is the kind of film that--let's just be honest here--is gonna tank in theaters. It's gonna tank hard. It's not what the ads make it look like, it's messy, it's a little disorienting in the way it throws out a lot of exposition in the early going, and it bites off a lot more than it can chew. But there's something here--it's politically and sociologically-loaded with historical metaphors, and takes a unique approach to its subject matter that almost guarantee it'll be the kind of film that has a serious cult following before it even leaves multiplexes in, well, probably a week. Shot two years ago, CAPTIVE STATE's release date was shuffled around multiple times--originally due out in summer 2018--as distributor Focus Features clearly had no idea what to do with it (I mean, what is that poster selling? The other one isn't any better). As a result, they're taking the easiest route possible and pushing it as a rote, run-of-the-mill alien invasion sci-fi actioner like it's another SKYLINE, and that does it a major disservice. Given the state of distribution today, it's a small victory that something like this even got made at all, let alone dumped on 2500 screens to certain doom. It's directed and co-written by Rupert Wyatt, best known for 2011's terrific RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES. He directed 2014's THE GAMBLER in the interim, and while it looks like he had to make a few compromises, one can sense that CAPTIVE STATE is a pet project and something he's been ruminating on for quite some time.