Kicking off my Berlinale 2012 trip, Captive left me feeling ambivalent.
Based on ‘true accounts’ of a bunch of foreigners kept hostage by Filipino muslim extremists, Mendoza does particularly well keeping up the cinema verité styling, handheld camera and realistic pacing. This ultimately becomes the film’s downfall as, over the case of two hours, we develop no real emotional attachment to the prisoners or any insight into the intentions of the terrorists. Essentially, it’s photojournalism wrapped up in an all too loose narrative, and for that reason feels like a big cinematic miss-swing when it really could have pact a hefty terror-punch.
THE GOOD: The Filipino jungle setting is equally stunning and scary.
THE BAD: An attempted, worldly universal script that doesn’t really hit home.
THE UGLY: An unforgivable use of hammy ‘camera recording filter’ during the interview scenes. A real ‘throw your hands up in the air’ moment.