Captive State: Review by @Kush_Hayes
I see a lot of movies. So when I hear a movie is releasing on a Friday and I haven't seen the trailer for it somehow, Im somewhat skeptical. In the case of Captive State, written, directed and produced by the Rupert Wyatt, the guy who brought us the first of the newest Planet of the Apes Trilogy, this is not a bad thing by any means. Going into a movie with no expectations doesn't mean anything to me, but when I leave it with positive affirmations, its kind of amazing.
Heres the story: Ten years ago, Extraterrestrials invaded the planet and conquered us without much effort. Conquered us to the extent that global surrender was the optimal resolution otherwise the human race would face immediate extermination. Over the next decade the aliens insert themselves into our government and we become the titular “Captive State”. For some reason Chicago is segregated from the rest of the US Population. At no point in the movie are we given motive to what the aliens want, besides world domination. And at no point are we privileged to knowing what is happening not just outside Chicago, but outside the country as well.
With the exceptions to some modern familiarities, 2029 Chicago has devolved into a third world environment. People have assigned jobs. People are informing details about their closest neighbors and even family members to the authorities. There is no square inch of the Second City you can go where you are not monitored by the Alien Government by biological tracking implants which are referred to as “Bugs” and resemble actual worms.
This movie hosts an interesting cast of veterans and newcomers. With the newcomers, you have such tallents as Ashton Sanders who is our main character and youve seen in Equalizer 2 as well as the 2018 Best Picture winner Moonlight. And James Ransone who while looking like Jake Gyllenhaal's Stunt Double, who youve actually seen in The Sinister films and will see in the upcoming sequel of Stephen Kings It: Chapter Two coming out later this year. Then you have Supporting veterans with Kevin Dunn, more recently known from the first three Transformer Movies and Vera Farmiga who is always a delight to see in anything however used very sparingly in this but for good reason. John Goodman is the biggest name in this and the best thing about this movie. Youre never sure what his motives are in this even when it comes down to the end. I blame that on bad writing, however you know he is playing all sides for self preservation.
I think if youre a native or resident of Chicago, this is probably an amazing movie for you. I think if you grew up at any point during the Cold War that ended in the early 1990s, this holds some weight for you. I felt many times that this was just an allegory for what could have been if the USSR had ever invaded America as so many TV and movies led us to fear those days.
Kush, you keep talking about Aliens and ETs, what are they like?
Since you asked, we see very little of them. They are not the story. But when we do, they are covered in darkness, they are covered in shadow. What you can see of them, kind of looks generic. A couple of the “Hunter” costumes look silly, but again there is lots of hiding in the shadows for dramatic purposes. Do not see this movie if you love seeing Hollywood interpretations of Alien Life Forms. You will undoubtedly be disappointed.
However, if you love spy movies, if you love urban espionage and not knowing who to trust and the idea of Revolution and fighting “The Man” and casting off the shackles of oppression, then this is a better movie than it deserves to be.
Four out of Six Blueberries