Captive State (2019) - Rotten Tomatoes

Captive State2019

Captive State (2019)



Critic Consensus: This sci-fi thriller may not necessarily leave viewers in a Captive State, but it offers reasonably diverting alien invasion action with ambitious political undertones.

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Set in a Chicago neighborhood nearly a decade after an occupation by an extra-terrestrial force, "Captive State" explores the lives on both sides of the conflict - the collaborators and dissidents.

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Critic Reviews for Captive State

All Critics (80) | Top Critics (17)

Whether our streets are under assault by alien insects or craven speculators, if a filmmaker shows the places we know and love, we will care about the story's fate, no matter how far-fetched.

March 28, 2019 | Full Review…

At its best, Captive State blends imaginative science-fiction with the caliber of detail-oriented espionage you might find in an Alan J. Pakula film.

March 21, 2019 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Overall it's a mess, compounded by murky CGI and some unrealistic performances.

March 16, 2019 | Full Review…

An unsatisfying potluck of quasi-relevant, frustration-inducing ideas.

March 15, 2019 | Full Review…

Goodman, Dunn and Farmiga play even the more ridiculous elements straight, as if they're in a cop movie. The younger actors are all terrific as well.

March 15, 2019 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Unfortunately, character development is perfunctory and unsatisfactory. We're watching a bunch of pawns on a filmmaker's chessboard.

March 15, 2019 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Captive State

DISTRICT NEIN - My Review of CAPTIVE STATE (1/2 Star) I love me a good, dystopian alien invasion movie. That first attack scene from Spielbergï¿ 1/2(TM)s remake of WAR OF THE WORLDS remains a master class in escalating terror and suspense. INDEPENDENCE DAY for all of its rah-rah jingoism, knocked me out when the alien is asked what it wants the humans to do, and it chillingly answers, ï¿ 1/2Die. Die.ï¿ 1/2Â? DISTRICT NINE had the unique vision of setting its invasion in the shanty towns of South Africa. I couldnï¿ 1/2(TM)t wait to see writer/director Rupert Wyattï¿ 1/2(TM)s take on the genre with CAPTIVE STATE, since he did such a great job with 2011ï¿ 1/2(TM)s RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES. Unfortunately, heï¿ 1/2(TM)s made a terrible, nearly unwatchable movie. CAPTIVE STATE tells the story set in the near future several years after aliens have taken control of our planet. Having us subjugated humans do their bidding, theyï¿ 1/2(TM)ve holed themselves up in an underground lair of sorts in the middle of Chicago. We virtually police ourselves and enforce strict laws. Every person has a surgically implanted tracking device and must obey all the rules or risk instant vaporization by the aliens. Of course, a resistance attempts to take down the aliens, thus giving us a main story. On paper, this sounds awesome! The opening sequence works like gangbusters and is the only thing to merit the 1/2 star Iï¿ 1/2(TM)ve given this film. A family of four tries to escape the city, only to have some of them turned into red dust by their new leaders. Years later, we follow the surviving child, Gabriel (MOONLIGHTï¿ 1/2(TM)s Ashton Sanders) as he joins the resistance to avenge his familyï¿ 1/2(TM)s death and find freedom for his fellow earthlings. Itï¿ 1/2(TM)s an incredibly tense, promising start, but everything after it falls flat. First, the film doesnï¿ 1/2(TM)t have the budget necessary to realize this vision. We barely get a glimpse of the creatures, and when we do, they either look like giant hairy, black, Koosh Balls, clicking insects, or later, armored ï¿ 1/2Terminatorsï¿ 1/2Â?. Second, Wyatt employs an unpleasant hand-held camera throughout, which may give the film a certain gravitas and credibility, but it also gave me a migraine. He has also co-written a screenplay (with Erica Beeney) which feels overstuffed to the point of incomprehensibility yet has a surplus of one-note characters. Chief among them is John Goodman as a police officer tasked with stopping the resistance. His occasional visits with a sex worker played by Vera Farmiga (who like everyone else, is way better than this) scream out the movieï¿ 1/2(TM)s ï¿ 1/2surpriseï¿ 1/2Â? twists with all the subtlety of Ripley shouting ï¿ 1/2Get away from her, you bitch!ï¿ 1/2Â? in the way, way, way better ALIENS. Goodman, wears the gravity of the situation on his face very well, but he just doesnï¿ 1/2(TM)t have any other layers to play. Did I mention this film is a hopeless bore? Although filled with the razzle dazzle of a constantly moving camera, and people running and jumping a lot, the story just sits there. We wait endlessly for a so-called Unity Rally, where our heroes plan on blowing up the aliens. When the sequence finally comes in the ninth or tenth hour of the film (I lost track), it suffers from an amazingly anti-climactic sequence in which dozens of extras stream out of a packed stadium. I understand budget constraints, but weï¿ 1/2(TM)re talking really meager stuff here. By the time we get to the final scene, where all the good stuff happens off camera, I breathed a sigh of relief because at least it was over. I was finally free. I understand why Participant Media greenlit this film. Terrifying aliens usually amount to box office successes. I only wish they had taken a cold hard look at the tone and made adjustments. This may have worked as a simple, streamlined noir since it contains some BLADE RUNNER elements such as mysterious objects and altered humans. Wyatt undoes his own reasonably great idea with the wrong pace and tone. Come out of your AVATAR coma James Cameron and show us how it should be done!

Glenn Gaylord
Glenn Gaylord

Super Reviewer


The fraught world of Captive State is interesting, a political landscape ten years into an alien occupation. We follow a small band of human resistance fighters working to get past a security stopgap to strike back at the alien overlords who resemble human-sized pine trees. John Goodman plays a police security chief trying to unravel the insurgent conspiracy while working with the collaborative government. It has a slight cat-and-mouse feel of a good conspiracy thriller and there are asides that broaden the world, giving an interesting peak at the realities of this strange new world. The problem is that it feels like a whole mini-series stripped into a two-hour movie. The characters feel less like people and more like impressions of people, and the story is plowing through so many incidents that there isn't much time to flesh them out except for the occasional trope. As a result, the movie feels like it has a lot of things happening but my interest level flagged because I felt little for the characters. The limitations of the budget are felt here and there as far as the sense of scale. Director/co-writer Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) takes a docu-drama approach and favors nighttime chases and sneaking, which also conceals special effects restrictions. The visual grittiness adds a visceral level of realism but can lend itself to additional logic questions. I kept waiting for the world to feel more lived-in and offer important slivers to add layers of context to this conspiracy. Captive State is frustrating with how much it leaves unspoken and unclear. It's ten years in to this occupation and what exactly have the aliens offered the world? What has changed? Why are these freedom fighters fighting back? What are the goals of the aliens? I can handle ambiguity and nuance but with too much the world building can feel unsatisfying and incomplete. It comes together well but by the climactic end I felt the universe it established was more intriguing with potential than the story it delivered. Nate's Grade: C+

Nate Zoebl
Nate Zoebl

Super Reviewer

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