Captive State (2019)
Director: Rupert Wyatt
Screenwriters: Erica Beeney, Rupert Wyatt
Starring: John Goodman, Ashton Sanders, Jonathan Majors, Machine Gun Kelly
When you saw Battlefield Earth did you think you needed a more complicated version? If so, here’s some good news… that’s what Captive State is.
The premises of both films are that an alien force is in charge of the Earth and using humans to mine for them. Unlike Battlefield Earth, Captive State thinks it’s some kind of spy thriller rather than a straightforward film about toppling an evil ruling class.
Part of the issue is the lack of focus. We follow three characters, each on different sides of the conflict, but two of them are mostly uninteresting and we’re with them for only the first forty-five minutes. Following that, there’s a fascinating sequence where we watch a group carry out an attack on the alien government, and then the film falls off again as we deal with the aftermath and discover the obvious twist. A better movie would focus on one of these arcs rather than trying to give three people large amounts of screen time away from one another.
A major dissonant aspect of the film is its presentation of the alien government. Society is ruled by an out-group and we must refuse to make peace with them – bringing to mind the irrational, conspiratorial fears of the implementation of Sharia Law or FEMA camps by Obama. Of course, the film is also critical of the privileged in society, the wealth gap, authoritarian government, sycophant politicians that kowtow to evil regimes, deportation of people and racism to an extent. There surely must have been a better way to accomplish this than using aliens?
At its core, this is the issue; it doesn’t wholly realize its interesting premise. There’s no reason the aliens were aliens. There’s no reason why they were furry/spiky with butthole mouths. This is a stock film put on shuffle in the hope that it will be more interesting.
After the 110 minute runtime, you’ll feel like you were freed from captivity.
Wait for this to hit Netflix.