Last week I saw Captive State, a sci-fi thriller from the mind of director Rupert Wyatt ( rebooted Planet of the Apes franchise). What I initially perceived as a straight-up action film served more as a smart, heist-like educator on resistance. While the story swam familiar waters, it was lifted by strong performances.
John Goodman and Ashton Sanders star as two individuals belonging to opposite factions in a not-so distant future Chicago. Earth was occupied by an alien race nine years prior, and life, as many knew it, ceased to exist.
Goodman plays a government official whose fixation on a failed rebellion leads him to believe the dormant resistance group has resurfaced. Sanders is linked to the movement somehow, and key to preventing whatever act is planned. These two shine brilliantly, as well as the host of supporting characters.
The world felt grounded despite it’s fantastical setting. It almost gave me a District 9 feel as the visual effects weren’t too heavy. Most of the film centered on the human characters, leaving only a few daring moments with the actual aliens. Though fleeting, their presence and pending dread were felt whenever they appeared on screen.
The story was timely highlighting the importance of information and history. The practice of revisionist history – even in real time – is a dangerous precedent to this world, and our own. I loved how Wyatt, who wrote the film with Erica Beeney, threads this message throughout.
While the movie isn’t full of action sequences, it seamlessly shifts tone in the second act, fleshing out an intricate sequence of events. It visualizes a scope of unity among people of all ages, walks of life and skills aimed to achieve a goal for the greater good.
My only issue – the resolution was pretty predictable. While I was satisfied with its reveal, I picked up on it early on. Other than that, it was a very enjoyable film parsed with an important message.