Captivity (2007)
By: J.R. McNamara on August 1, 2008  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Lions Gate (USA). Region 1, NTSC. 2.35:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1, English DTS 6.1. English, French, Spanish subtitles. 85 minutes
The Movie
Director: Roland Joffé
Starring: Elisha Cuthbert, Daniel Gillies, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Michael Harney
Screenplay: Larry Cohen, Joseph Tura
Country: USA
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Larry Cohen and Roland Joffe are an interesting mix for a movie production. Cohen, the man responsible for the It's Alive series and Q: The Winged Serpent joining forces with Academy Award nominee Roland Joffe, who on one hand directed The Mission, and on the other was one of the many responsible for Super Mario Bros.

The result? Captivity!

Captivity tells of Jennifer Tree (the gorgeous Elisha Cuthbert), a model who is trapped by her lifestyle: her schedule is heavily booked, and escape seems unlikely... that is until the night she is drugged, and wakes up in a stone cell, and is given tasks that she must perform.

Unlike the previous trap of her life though, any resistance doesn't result in a drop in her popularity, but instead results in a torturous punishment.

After a short period of time though, she discovers that she is not alone, and there is another cell, where another prisoner is kept. This prisoner is a young man named Gary (Spiderman 2's Daniel Gilles) who is in the same situation as her: not knowing where he is or why he is there.

Together they think they might be able to escape, but will they be able to hatch a plan without their captor finding out? Could they possibly fall for each other in such intense circumstances? Or is death their only escape?

Cohen's, along with co-writer Joseph Tura's, script is handled well by Joffe, creating a nice looking movie that wants to be more than what it is, but doesn't quite have the ability to be more. On one hand, it could have been an interesting look at how the pressure of a severe situation can force people together, and on the other it could have been a gore-fest that revels in its bloodshed. Unfortunately, this film has too many attempts at being intellectual and thought provoking, that are knocked aside by some spectacularly nasty scenes of gore (the force feeding scene in particular!!).

Joffe creates some truly tight shots that have claustrophobia written all over them, not just to represent the scene in the dungeon, but also to show what a trap her 'real-life' is. He also films Cuthbert beautifully: I am sure it is not hard to film a girl as lovely as she is in a manner that shows off her good looks, but Cuthbert looks lovely throughout the film... which, when you consider she spends most of it in a dungeon may be slightly detrimental to the reality of her situation!

Some may remember this film due to the controversy that arose from its advertising campaign that was revealed in the states, where a non-approved image of torture was on a billboard over a motorway. Fingers were pointed, and blame lay, but for all the free-air the film got, none of that really helped the film, which in the wake of both the Hostel and Saw series' has been over looked.

As a few final points, this film wears some of its influences on its sleeve: giallo-ish gloved hands of the killer, the jarring attempt at a Carpenter theme, but the real treat is the appearance of Constantine and Identity creepozoid Pruit Taylor Vince.
The film is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio with 16:9 enhancement, and the transfer is impeccable.
The audio on this film is presented in either 6.1 DTS or Dolby 5.1 Digital Surround EX. I reviewed the 5.1 and it was amazing! The sounds when within the dungeon added to the confined feel of the majority of the film, which complimented the tight images nicely.
Extra Features
The Making of Captivity is what it is. There is a bit of ego stroking, but essentially all those involved discuss the film matter of fact-ly, and raise some interesting points about what the film is about. Tragically this doco doesn't explore the controversy surrounding the films release, and the notorious poster campaign that was removed soon after being initiated.

On the Set of Captivity shows a selection of scenes and the preparation for them. The interesting thing is that Joffe got his claustrophobic look to this film by no accident: the stage looks very closed in.

Deleted scenes has a few scenes not seen in the film (hence the title) and two alternate endings.

There is a trailer for the film, which is surprisingly an 'All Audiences' one.

There are several trailers on this disc for films all from Lionsgate: Saw 3, Mummy Maniac, H.P. Lovecraft's The Tomb, The Descent and a generic "The afterdark Horrorfest: Films To Die For" trailer, which feature scenes from the films selected for the After Dark Horrorfest.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
When I first saw this movie a few months ago, I thought it disturbing, but below average, nicely executed horror fare. In the wake of the Fritzl case in Holland, it has become more bothersome, but it is still no more than an average, nicely executed horror film. Don't just dismiss this film as "torture-porn" though, as it does have an interesting take on Stockholm Syndrome, and has a bit more to offer than what a lot of that sub-genre offers.

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