Movie Reviews

Movie Review: Captive State (2019)


Summary: Set in a Chicago neighborhood nearly a decade after an occupation by an extraterrestrial force, ‘Captive State’ explores the lives on both sides of the conflict – the collaborators and dissidents.
The Cast. I don’t want to quite say the characters were interesting because I didn’t really find anyone interesting but I thought the acting was good. John Goodman plays William Mulligan, a police commander who is going after this resistance group he doesn’t think is gone and he seems to have a singular focus and is doing everything he can do to accomplish his goals. I wasn’t quite sure his endgame until about halfway through but John Goodman is a great actor and it was really hard to get a read on him. I knew something was up but I wasn’t quite sure what it was. Ashton Sanders plays Gabriel Drummond, is the younger son of the family we saw in the beginning and his role is interesting because it seems like he has an important part to play and I’ll get more into this later but I wanted to watch this for him because I thought he was fantastic in Moonlightand his section was my favorite part of the movie. He has this great ability to pull attention when he’s on screen and I wanted way more of him. Jonathan Majors plays Rafe Drummond, Gabe’s older brother and I won’t get more into his role but he was rather dynamic as well. Once he was introduced, I was like “oh yeah, this is some good stuff”. There are a lot of people we come into contact with as well and honestly, this movie might have worked better as a miniseries or a television show because I wanted to care more about these people because they had potential to be interesting.
The aliens. We don’t get to see a ton of them in the film but when we do, they’re really have interesting designs. They look like tall men with spider legs and then like tons of nails all over their body that can move into different forms. It’s quite cool actually. Like I said, you don’t see them a ton in the film but when you do it’s like “eww gross” or “oooo cool!” for me, it was both reactions lol.
Human Drama. This movie really goes into what humans would do after the bad guys win and how it’s handled. I think it was smart to not dive into the whole invasion aspect or to have it be mass chaos because OMG aliens. But to have humans collectively rise up and fight back, rise up and do it in sneaky ways, that’s pretty cool. Humans show how smart they are here and while it’s reckless, you understand it because their world changed and ya know, humans are fickle.
Suspense and Tension. Even if you don’t think the story is that great, the suspense and tension is handled really well in this movie. I was really on the edge of my seat at times. Like the entire Soldier’s Field scene, man that was good, and then the sequence after that with the buses. Even the very end was pretty great. The story is a bit off kilter but man it would keep you into it because you just want to know how it’s all going to turn out.
Slow Burn/Feels Jumbled. Generally, I like slow burn stories because it allows the viewer or the reader to really get invested in the characters and the story, and while I was curious as to what was going on, I just wanted all the twists and turns to end. I found myself getting…bored with whatever was actually happening because it didn’t feel like anything was truly happening. There’s so much yet so little happening in this film that it just feels like a jumbled mess.
The Story. Listen, I see what they’re trying to do. I even understand that once a character meets another character, we then follow that character for a little while and so on and so forth, and that’s fine but it’s a little hard to really get invested in this story. I guess I also just keep coming back to characters because the movie is very character driven more than it is story driven.
Character Potential. As I said before, I watched this movie because of Ashton Sanders and I thought he was going to be a leading character. I had no idea what the movie was about but I thought he was going to be the character we followed. But it’s more of an ensemble cast but most characters we don’t really get to know so when things happen, it’s impossible to care about them. I really think this might have done better as a television show. It could work since it’s not so focused on the alien aspect but on the human aspect, and it doesn’t feel too Battlestar Galactica, it feels more relatable and I think it would have worked. When the ending comes about it’s just like “DANG!” because it happens but not because I care about the characters it’s happening to. Ya know?
Dark/Murky Visually. This is a bit tooo dark in terms of the visuals. It’s hard to see what is going on at times. Whenever the aliens are on screen, it’s hard to see them. I’m sure part of it is to keep their look to a minimum which is cool and all but I think it would have been nice to see them just a few times more, or at least clearly. Also, whenever their space ships showed up, or any flying thing it was hard to tell what it looked like. They looked like giant flying rocks and I’m like meh, it’s hard to see and when I can see, it’s underwhelming.
Overall, Captive Stateis an interesting movie. I’m having a hard time deciding if I would recommend it. If you like science-fiction movies that may fall into the same vein as I, Robot, or I Am Legendand things like that then you might enjoy this, but it’s hard to really say otherwise. I think the acting is good, I really watched this for Ashton Sanders and I think he’s great, his character also had great potential to be way more interesting than what he is. John Goodman is also good as is Jonathan Majors. I think the aliens are pretty interesting and in how they’re designed when we’re able to see them and their looming threat is also interesting. I like the human drama in that when the characters interact there is a lot of history there, or a lot of interesting dialogue and of course it handles the tension quite well! I find myself interested. However, the movie is a bit of a jumbled mess when it comes to the story, the character potential is just a shame because it’s there but isn’t followed through. The movie is also visually too dark at times. But ya know, it had great potential and I REALLY think it should have been a mini-series. *sighs* A lot of movies I have found lately, should be shows instead of films. Let’s change our tactics people, viewers want to watch things in the comfort of their homes and if they can binge it, even better.
Rating: 2.9 out of 5 stars. 
Have you seen Captive State? Was it even on your radar? If you’ve seen it, what are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!
Thanks for reading!

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