Film Review by Kam Williams
Tale of Redemption Revisits the Real-Life Ordeal of Single-Mom Held Hostage by Rapist
On March 11, 2005, Brian Nichols (David Oyelowo) was being escorted from jail to the Fulton County Courthouse where he was set to go on trial for assault, kidnapping and rape. But en route to the courtroom, he overpowered a sheriff’s deputy (Diva Tyler) and took her gun before embarking on a bloody killing spree that would claim the lives of the judge, a court reporter, a police sergeant and a federal agent.
Nichols subsequently eluded the authorities, hijacking several vehicles as he made his way from Atlanta to the suburb of Duluth. There, in the middle of the night , he abducted Ashley Smith (Kate Mara) on the street and forced her at gunpoint to take him home with her.
Once in the apartment, the high-strung sociopath smashed her head against the wall, even though she was doing her best to complying with his demands. After all, she was well aware that she was dealing with an armed and extremely dangerous fugitive of justice who was the subject of the biggest manhunt in Georgia history. So, there was no reason for the single-mom to do anything stupid that might jeopardize her chances of ever seeing her daughter (Elle Graham) again, especially since, as a recovering meth addict prone to relapse, she had already been forced to surrender custody of Paige to an Aunt (Mimi Rogers).
Meanwhile, the police were closing in. Since Brian had left his cell phone on, they were able to narrow down his location to within a three-mile radius of the tower sending out his signal. They even spoke to him and suggested he give himself up, all to no avail.
What instead ensued was a seven-hour ordeal during which Ashley and Brian not only eventually bonded but experienced a life-transforming catharsis to boot. Thanks to Ashley’s Narcotics Anonymous sponsor, she had in her possession a copy of “The Purpose-Driven Life,” the inspirational best-seller by Pastor Rick Warren.
And in response to her captor’s admission “I’ve got a demon in me,” the frightened victim thought to ask his permission to share some pearls of wisdom from the popular, inspirational, self-help guide: “The greatest tragedy is not death, but life without purpose,” she began, adding, “When life has meaning, you can bear almost anything.”
Well, Warren’s inspirational message resonated. as Brian surrendered soon after the impromptu Sunday school class, and Ashley never snorted meth ever again. Thus unfolds Captive a faith-based tale of redemption directed by Jerry Jameson.
A riveting, psychological thriller recounting a nationally-known standoff, but from the fresh perspective of the two troubled souls barricaded in a home surrounded by a SWAT team.
Very Good (3 stars)
Rated PG-13 for mature themes involving violence and substance abuse
Running time: 97 minutes
Distributor: Paramount Pictures