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Review: “CAPTIVE”

Review: “CAPTIVE”

Reviewer: Phil Boatwright

Rated: PG-13

CREDITS: David Oyelowo, Kate Mara, Leonor Varela, Jessica Oyelowo, with Mimi Rogers and Michael K. Williams. Opened 9/18/15

Directed by veteran filmmaker Jerry Jameson, “CAPTIVE” is based on the book “Unlikely Angel” by Ashley Smith with Stacy Mattingly. The film’s screenplay is by Brian Bird. Produced by Terry Botwick, Jerry Jameson, Lucas Akoskin, Alex Garcia, Katrina Wolfe, David Oyelowo and Ken Wales.

The executive producers are Santiago Garcia Galván, Jonathan Gray, Brian Bird, Elliott Lester and Ralph Winter.

FILM SYNOPSIS: “CAPTIVE,” based on a miraculous true story that drew the attention of the entire nation, is the dramatic, thrilling, and spiritual journey of Ashley Smith and Brian Nichols. After being taken hostage by Brian in her own apartment, Ashley turns to Rick Warren’s inspirational book, “The Purpose Driven Life,” for guidance. In reading from the book, Ashley not only finds purpose in her own life, but helps Brian find a more peaceful resolution to a harrowing situation.

REPORTER’S REVIEW:  It’s a faith-based film with substance. While it doesn’t override the story with evangelizing, it does do what films about redemption and belief in God should do – it resonates. Sometimes Christian messages in films can come off as preachy, tepid and weak. In fairness to those who attempt a true ministry through film, there is no more difficult subject to bring to the screen than one dealing with spirituality. It helps to have a solid cast and a good budget. Captive has both. (The two leads give perhaps the most dynamic and satisfying performances so far this year.)

There are films such as The Tree of Life and The Life of Pi that artistically state we are more than mental and physical beings. But it is so hard to represent the true person of Jesus Christ on screen and our need to center Him in our daily lives. It’s been done, but it’s not easy.

But Captive does what a movie must do first – it entertains. The story and characters captivate (sorry about that). We get involved, you know like you’re supposed to do with a good movie. Once you connect with the characters, then your message can be brought in. Captive does that. And more. It reaches out to all viewers and offers them an honest representation of what it means to be a person of faith.

Rated PG-13 for violence: We see the escaping convict beat a woman guard, then shoot to death four other people; he holds the female lead captive and threatens her with the possibility of death. None of this intensity is meant merely as exploitive entertainment, but is there to further this intense story.

By: Film and DVD Reviews by Phil Boatwright: Besides providing a monthly column for Baptist Press, Phil Boatwright reviews films for He also is a regular contributor to “The World and Everything In it,” a weekly radio program from WORLD News Group, which also publishes WORLD Magazine.

For more movie reviews, as well as news, reviews, and interviews on all forms of entertainment media from a Christian perspective, visit Ken Raney at

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