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Based on a miraculous true story that drew the attention of the entire nation, is the dramatic, thrilling, and spiritual journey of Ashley Smith and Brian Nichols. After being taken hostage by Brian in her own apartment, Ashley turns to Rick Warren’s inspirational book, The Purpose Driven Life, for guidance. In reading from the book, Ashley not only finds purpose in her own life, but helps Brian find a more peaceful resolution to a harrowing situation.

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Captive movie full length review - One of the Better Faith Based Films we've Received in a While

I decided to watch this movie on a whim simply because of the good acting talent that was in the film.

I came out enjoying the movie more than I thought I would which can actually be attributed to the excellent acting of David Oyelowo and Kate Mara. This movie basically rides on the interactions between these two but they carry the film quite well. I'm always hesitant to watch movies which have such strong religious themes. I'm not anti-religious whatsoever but more often than not religious films just aren't very good. I'm happy to say that this movie has religious themes but proves that it can be done well. The movie is directed fairly well by Jerry Jameson and is actually quite suspenseful and cathartic at times. It's not perfect but it's a decent film and it's worth a watch. Let's talk about the story.

Brian Nichols (David Oyelowo) is a convicted criminal who is about to go in front of the judge for a heinous crime that he committed against his former girlfriend. Nichols manages to seriously injure the guard that was watching him and then proceeds to murder the judge in charge of his case along with a stenographer and a police officer before leaving in a stolen vehicle. While this is going on. Ashley Smith (Kate Mara) is a recovering meth addict that is trying to get her life back on track so that she can regain custody of her young daughter. A woman in her support group gives her a book called The Purpose Driven Life. She doesn't give much credence to this at first but she ends up keeping the book. That night, Nichols breaks into Ashley's home and takes her hostage while he tries to figure out what he's going to do next. The night ahead of them changes both of their lives as they realize that their paths may be different but they both lead to a dead end.

This movie is all about Mara and Oyelowo. Oyelowo plays his part very well and I found myself hating but eventually feeling sorry for him. It's still easier to hate him though because of the innocent people he murders throughout the story. Don't get me wrong, I know he's a troubled man but as soon as I see innocent people dying I tend to turn against the murderer. Oyelowo still does a fantastic job of giving us a very ambivalent character that performs evil acts but is not completely bad. He obviously loves his young son and the catharsis he reaches just from listening to a book being read to him is actually heartwarming. It's even more effective since we know that the story is based off of actual events.

Mara almost always does a great job and this movie is no exception. Smith is a flawed character that can be easily dismissed as a deadbeat mom who would rather spend time doing drugs than getting her life back on track but there's so much more to her. When we find out just how much she has given up because of her obsessive drug use it's hard not to feel a little sorry for her. Like Nichols, she's done terrible things but she's not completely bad. Now, to be fair, her sins are no where near the level of Nichols but we can tell that she's not a perfect person either.

The movie has great acting and a heartwarming story but it's certainly not perfect. Nichols is portrayed excellently by Oyelowo but even his wonderful acting ability can't make me feel too sorry for this guy. He's already serving time for one horrible crime and right off the bat we see him committing horrible crimes one after another. It's based off of a true story so it's nice that it's being kept realistic but the film should have probably let us see a bit more of what the friends and families of the slain had to go through just to keep things in perspective. However, this is really a redemption story so I understand why they didn't but it's certainly not easy to make a character likable after that kind of thing.

Overall, the Captive is a very good movie with an interesting look at two flawed but ultimately misunderstood human beings. The messages get a little crossed when we remember the absolutely horrible things that Nichols does but the main idea I took away from the film is that everyone can decide to do the right thing, even the worst of us. It's certainly one of the better faith based films that we've gotten in a while.