Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

Movie Review ~ Captive

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CaptiveCaptive, rated PG-13

This film is based on the true events of March 12, 2005 and Ashley Smith’s book Unlikely Angel. Smith, played by Kate Mara (House of Cards), is a waitress and mom living in Atlanta, and is close to losing her young daughter as a result of her drug addiction. In fact, daughter Paige lives with Ashley’s aunt, played by Mimi Rogers.

Ashley is a widow, her husband having been murdered by a drug dealer.  We see her attending a Celebrate Recovery meeting and a friend giving her a copy of Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Life. The book will play a key role in this story.

Brian Nichols is played by David Oyelowo, who was robbed of an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of MLK in Selma. Brian is about to be sentenced for rape, but escapes from a courthouse jail and kills four people while the Atlanta police pursue him throughout the city.

When Smith decides to go to her car looking for cigarettes at 2:30 am, Nichols grabs her, leading her back into her apartment. The rest of the film is about their relationship, which begins with Nichols throwing her around, taping her up, and using the meth that Ashley had in the apartment.

The film is directed by 80-year old Jerry Jameson, who has a long history of directing, including episodes of The Mod Squad television series in 1969-1972. It is the story of two broken people who have an unlikely encounter and their interactions. I wouldn’t consider this a “Christian film”. Ashley reads to Nichols from the book The Purpose Driven Life, and that’s pretty much the extent of the faith-based aspect, short of an interview with the real Smith and Rick Warren by Oprah Winfrey as the credits roll.

The acting performances from Oyelowo and Mara were solid, but the script didn’t give them a lot to work with. The film was also dreadfully slow. Overall, we were disappointed with this film, especially after having seen Oyelowo’s strong performance in Selma.

Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence – married to my best friend Tammy, a graduate of Covenant Seminary, St. Louis Cardinals fan, formerly a manager at a Fortune 50 organization, and in leadership at my local church. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop, and to use their strengths to their fullest potential. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinder themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony, and Achiever, and my two StandOut strength roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book of the Bible, and Colossians 3:23 and 2 Corinthians 5:21 being my favorite verses. Some of my other favorite books are The Holiness of God and Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul, and Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. I enjoy music in a variety of genres, including modern hymns, Christian hip-hop and classic rock. My book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace and Tammy’s book Study, Savor and Share Scripture: Becoming What We Behold are available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon.

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