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Captivity (2007) – Review

1/2 Star

Roland Joffé the man behind powerful and illustrious films, The Killing Fields and The Mission, is also the guiding force behind Captivity. It is a stunning fall from grace. How could a director with such accolades helm this turkey? There isn’t one shot, not one frame that would lead you to believe anyone involved with the creative team had prior academy award nominations. Many critically acclaimed filmmakers have dabbled in the horror genre, Kubrick, Wells, Scorsese and of course Hitchcock. So I understand the inclination for a director to want to stretch, but rarely has it produced such an inept final product.

Jennifer Tree (Cuthbert) is the most high-profile model in New York. She is young, beautiful and extremely selfish. After a long day at a photo shoot, Jennifer decides to blow off some steam at a local nightclub. When her date is a no show, she begins to drink heavily. Unbeknownst to the virginal Jennifer someone has spiked her cocktail with a powerful drug. She awakens in an inescapable room, equipped with a bed, chair and television monitor. She quickly realizes that there is somebody else being held prisoner on the other side of the adjoining cell. Then we watch as the fair haired porcelain featured Elisha Cuthbert is abused and subjected to all sorts of punishment. Nerve gas to sonic impairment, acid showers, incest, isolation, destitute. To go any further into plot descriptions, would ruin the few (foreseeable) twists the screenplay lazily trots out.

Captivity is clumsily staged and offers up nothing new, even worse it thinks it is making a statement about our beauty worshiping culture. Does nothing to earn thrills or screams, its ugliness parading as shock. In the end it’s not scary, thought provoking, nor fun. If witnessing a woman subjected to physical abuse is your idea of entertainment, than this is your Godfather. Even at a scant 84 minutes Captivity feels like a life sentence.

Director: Roland Joffé
Stars: Elisha Cuthbert, Daniel Gillies, Pruitt Taylor Vince