Captivity

Film
2 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars
From ‘Killing Fields’ director Roland Joffé and veteran genre scriptwriter Larry Cohen . . . a sordid, incoherent copy-cat of ‘Saw’, a movie notorious for its controversial billboard ads, which played on women’s fears of sadistic sexual violence. But that’s not the whole story. Originally shot in Moscow, this co-production was acquired a US distributor, which ordered substantial re-shoots that upped the gore quotient and changed the end. However, the script’s inherent structural weaknesses and thematic inconsistencies remain.

As the four-panel billboards proclaim, the formula is depressingly familiar – Abduction, Confinement, Torture, Termination – but presented without the cruel wit and perverse imagination that saved ‘Saw’ from numbing predictability. Fashion model Jennifer Tree (Elisha Cuthbert) wakes up in a subterranean cell and her all-knowing captor torments her by exploiting her weaknesses and phobias: her vanity, her fear of the dark. Then she discovers that a young man, Gary (Daniel Gillies), is locked in an adjoining room. Perhaps together they can find the strength and ingenuity to escape.

When Jennifer is encouraged to parade herself in a dress and stilettos, this suggests that she is being punished for her modelling. Yet flashbacks to her captor’s childhood suggest his psychopathology has a more banal origin. Most damaging of all is a ‘trick’ reveal, again taken from ‘Saw’, which creates even more confusion. When Jennifer is being force-fed a bloody cocktail of liquidised eyeballs and ears, we are genuinely choked up about it. The film’s clunky point-of-view shift and obviously re-shot climax are likely to have you choking in disbelief.

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