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The Captor

  • Film
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
Jan Thijs

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

Ethan Hawke leads this offbeat true-life heist caper by the funny bone.

Often an earnest on-screen presence, Ethan Hawke hits the movie helium in a big way in this loose-limbed and offbeat heist movie. It’s all based on an unlikely true story. Back in 1973, criminal Jan-Erik Olsson strolled into Stockholm’s huge Kreditbanken, sporting a dodgy disguise and a US accent, and stuck the place up, taking three hostages. Clad mainly in leather (he dresses like a man who’s watched ‘Easy Rider’ once too often) and wired on pills, Olsson is a gift for Hawke. He has a blast retracing his steps as a siege unfolds, filled with odd twists and unexpected humour.

‘The Captor’ was originally named ‘Stockholm’ – the syndrome got its name from the heist – and any dramatic grist here comes from Olsson’s blossoming chemistry with one of his hostages, bank clerk Bianca (Noomi Rapace). In truth, there’s little drama and tension, despite the engaging Rapace’s best efforts – the characters feel too thinly fleshed out for that. Director Robert Budreau is happy to sit back and let Hawke and Mark Strong, his newly sprung partner-in-crime, bring hammy energy and gentle counter-culture vibes to the absurdist scenario.

‘Dog Day Afternoon’ is an obvious touchpoint here, but the power of Sidney Lumet’s classic comes from its emotional sincerity and ‘The Captor’ doesn’t begin to tie you up with its characters in the same way. Still, it’s fun watching Hawke’s oddball robber socking it to The Man in a wig and stick-on handlebars. 

Phil de Semlyen
Written by
Phil de Semlyen

Release Details

  • Rated:15
  • Release date:Friday 21 June 2019
  • Duration:92 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Robert Budreau
  • Screenwriter:Robert Budreau
  • Cast:
    • Ethan Hawke
    • Mark Strong
    • Noomi Rapace
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