THIS is a science-fiction tale about aliens taking over the governments of the world, easily, as the ultra-rich find it worthwhile to work with such forces in return for their help in creating a “unified” society.
That move leaves the sorry-ass dumb folk to struggle along with the leftovers, and in this case, it’s a group of guerrilla-style resistance force called Phoenix in one US city, Chicago.
Set eight years later after Earth’s colonisation by this alien race called The Legislators, a Trumpian wall is a reality for every city as these off-world creatures – all spiky with porcupine-like bodies and sucker faces – seem to want to burrow beneath the roads and buildings for natural resources.
Helming the resistance team is Rafe Drummond, Jonathan Majors (White Boy Rick) whose parents were killed by the aliens as they tried to escape the city all those years ago. After leading one resistance attack, Rafe went underground, leaving younger brother Gabriel (Ashton Sander, Moonlighting) to fend for himself.
There’s a policeman on the brothers’ tail, Mulligan, played admirably by a leaner John Goodman. Mulligan has a bigger motive behind his hunt for Rafe, even to the extent of using his younger brother as bait. I’ve always liked Goodman’s cinematic style, and he doesn’t let me down in Captive State.
The resistance’s numero uno is a woman, played by Vera Farmiga (The Commuter, Up In The Air), whose cover as a prostitute gets her a lot of information. As she woos in a shady hotel, her theme song is Stardust, a song about a song about love, crooned on vinyl by Nat King Cole. But she is a big part of this Trojan Horse, designed to take down these dreadful aliens.
Geeks will love the way the finale resistance attack is planned, in an era with few Internet links.
Directed by Rupert Wyatt (Rise of The Planet of The Apes), this movie does offer some insights into geopolitics and the class struggle. It doesn’t offer a linear narrative, which makes for some unpredictability, which along with the use of cctv footage and handheld photography, make you feel the gritty reality of this dystopian world.
I am relieved that in this sci-fi flick, a girl teenager doesn’t get to save the day and Mother Earth. Captive State is for adults, by adults, without the aid of cute animals to sell a tale of how to kick alien butt.
This is no blockbuster feel-good movie, and a must-see for sci-fi fans. If you liked District 9, then Captive State is worth the sit-in at the cinema.