Captivity Roland Joffé

Captivity Roland Joffé

Captivity was so critically reviled when it opened earlier this year that I had to question how bad it could actually be. Surely a film that caused such ill-defined disgust in the press corps, who can normally find the most elaborate justifications for useless junk, had to be at least interesting as a case study, right? It turns out that this most hated entry in the "torture porn” genre is just as offensive as its detractors claimed but for completely different reasons than they were letting on. Elisha Cuthbert has the unenviable task of playing a hapless model kidnapped by a demented sadist so that he might subject her to mental cruelty for the better part of 87 minutes. For the first little while, the film is a little better than the average entry into the genre — not only is it relatively light on the physical torture but it’s far better directed (by a slumming Roland Joffe) than most of these things usually are. But Joffe’s intelligence in using and manipulating point-of-view is matched by the delusion that he’s doing something more than making a nasty movie. Thus he takes what could have been a thoroughly innocuous bit of horror schlock and buries it under pseudo-feminist sentiments that only make him look like an idiot. The film is so duplicitous and self-deceived about what it’s actually doing (and so pretentious in going about it) that you come away from the movie feeling angrier than if it has just been a straight S&M fantasy. The idea that a movie like this could be good for you beyond cheap thrills is ridiculous and insults both the audience and the political ghosts it has no shame in disturbing. Extras include a standard "making of” doc, an on-set clip with informational pop-ups and six deleted scenes, including two alternate endings. (Maple)