Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Movie Review: Captivity

*Andy thought Captivity was going to be like House of Wax that also stars the beautiful Elisha Cuthbert. You know the type of movie that has good looking people running away from some weird psychos. I was so so wrong.

It baffles me.
Captivity, the movie starring Elisha Cuthbert, directed by two times Oscar nominee, Roland Joffé and written by Larry Cohen of Cellular (2004) and Phone Booth (2002) really baffles me.

First up, the marketing really killed it.
I learned a new term for the sub-genre of horror films known as “torture porn”.
Torture porn refers to movies that feature nudity, torture, mutilation and sadism.
Although Hostel (2005) was the first film to be given this label, the classification is also relevant to the Saw franchise and movie like the more recent Turista (2006).
You’ll be surprised that even The Passion of Christ (2004) falls under this category.
The selling point of such films is the gore factor.
Most of the time the story is lame and poor thus the term porn.
Porn is sex without a story.

That is where the marketing for Captivity went awfully wrong.
The controversy that surrounds it in the United States before its release on July Friday the 13th is over hyped.
No doubt its bad publicity that drew complaints for its “horrific” billboard posters was considered a success, but to market Captivity as a “torture porn” movie is still a big mistake.

I found out that Captivity was actually completed two years ago.
Director Roland Joffé had envisioned it as a psychological thriller type movie that is about the public’s obsession on celebrities.
It was even said that Paris Hilton was part of the inspiration.
It will only make sense if viewed upon from this angle.
An Oscar quality director and a rated film writer stooping low to make a “torture porn” movie would be a great story for a horror movie by itself.

There wasn’t meant to be plenty of gore in Captivity.
It was meant to be a story about the abduction of a celebrity model, Jennifer Tree (Elisha Cuthbert), how she had to suffer the mental tortures of her captor and how she ended up in the end.

It asks the questions about who her captor was, what are his intentions and why another man, Gary (Daniel Gillies), was also held confined.

Since 2004 with the introduction of Saw, a movie produced at just $1.2m that grossed over $100m worldwide, there suddenly grew a huge interest for such films.
It was highly profitable and the public loved it.

So Roland Joffé’s Captivity was re-edited.
In comes the gore, Jennifer Tree was made to drink a horrible concoction of body parts, made to choose the fate of her beloved pet dog and strapped to a dentist chair for further physical torture.
Almost a third of the film was re-shot and edited by the production company’s CEO, Courtney Solomon.
It was also rumoured that another writer, Joseph Tura roped in for the re-write.

So there you go, a film that does not know what it wanted to be.
A psychological thriller remade as a “torture porn” wannabe.

It may appear that I am defending this film.
I certainly am not.
I just felt it should be given a much fairer justification.
I do not even think Elisha Cuthbert did a good job in the role but she sure is a looker.
The poster of her behind a fence with a mascara-smeared teardrop rolling down the cheek is a very good piece of graphic design imagery.
That attracted much of my attention to this movie.

I can say the same for the cinematography in Captivity but when it comes to the full product, it is nowhere near greatness.
Not that it was intended to be but a movie that is lost in its true essence is a nuisance.
This is one film I thought was poor on first sight but afterthoughts and background research made it clearer that it was a film that did not lived up to its potential.

The idea was a good one but in the wrong hands…
You know the rest.
The wrong expectation played up by marketing can ruin a moviegoer’s experience.

It really is just Cs for Captivity; Controversy, Cuthbert and Courtney Solomon.

Movie Link:

Related Article:
Captivity: What director Roland Joffé wanted it to be

Trailer of Captivity

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