Captive State (2019)

TV’s Colony is an enjoyable, if at times drawn-out, look at the repercussions after the United States (and presumably the world) surrenders to an overwhelming alien force, effectively sacrificing its cities to create a workforce allowing the aliens to maintain order and strip-mine earth’s resources.

Oh, wait!  This review is about the movie, Captive State.

Take Two:

Captive State is an enjoyable, if at times drawn-out, look at the repercussions after the United States (and presumably the world) surrenders to an overwhelming alien force, effectively sacrificing its cities to create a workforce allowing the aliens to maintain order and strip-mine earth’s resources.

The problem with Colony…errr…Captive State is that I always face the ethical realization that I would most likely end up being a collaborator for even an ounce of comfort.  Don’t get me wrong.  I would fight that alien scum with my whole heart up and until the government said, “Whoops, okay, our bad—they’re in charge now” and then I would obediently follow the rule of law as I placed my hand over my heart and said a newly crafted Pledge of Allegiance to our benevolent and merciful alien overlords.  What can I say?  I deplore anarchy as much as I enjoy a proper meal and air conditioning.  So with that in mind, as much as I normally hate to see John Goodman play a bad guy, I have to admit I can see his point of view as a police officer looking to protect the peace in this horrible new world.

And that is where Captive State knocks it out of the park:  the casting was phenomenal.  The performances these actors delivered was immersive and convincing, managing to pull the audience in, even as we were otherwise stuck scratching our heads trying to figure out what was happening and why it was important.

Here’s the deal.  The script is stilted, difficult to follow and, at times, plain boring, but each and every actor managed to wring as much as they could out of their respective parts, even if some of them, really most of them, only had a handful of lines.  The frenetic soundtrack bounced between an oddly long drum corps performance, techno house music and something that sounded like a riff Gene Belcher from Bob’s Burgers cranked out on his little blue keyboard, yet it somehow was given more screen time than the combined dialogue of the entire cast combined.  I liked the idea and understand the vision, but the reality of the execution yielded a pace meant to be a sprint coming off as a jog…or maybe even a speed walk…at a mall…with several water breaks.

Truth be told, for all I know this movie was written before Colony and the TV show ripped off the screenplay, but one way or the other, it’s a little disappointing to go to a movie and come out thinking that you’ve seen this concept done better on the small screen with what I assume was a much lower budget.

Don’t get me wrong.  If you have faith in this movie and stick with it, you will be rewarded.  There’s a payoff (that I foresaw) that makes watching it completely worthwhile and, even leaves you wanting a sequel.  You just have to be willing to trust that it really is going somewhere and commit to paying attention to all the details that get you there.

To be clear, I definitely recommend this movie.  Science fiction people will like it and, I suspect, will be more willing to be patient.  I would love to say that people who enjoy action/suspense/thrillers will also like it, but there’s technically very little action, suspense or thrill.  Still, it gets my vote as a more than worthwhile watch.

Then again, I’m a sucker for anything with John Goodman in it.

Captive State

(I normally don’t comment on the posters, but nothing as exciting as depicted above happens in this movie.)

2 thoughts on “Captive State (2019)

  1. pretty much, but colony had a bigger budget imo.

    CS pulls off a poor-man’s Suicide Mission Impossible and the threads are revealed at the end in a terrifically orchestrated baby shower scene as impactful as Psycho. Looking foreward to a relevant sequel.

    Liked by 1 person

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