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Captive: Movie Review

Hannah Goodwyn


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Gun to her back, Ashley Smith was shoved into her apartment and taken hostage for seven long hours. What happened in those early morning hours as murderer Brian Nichols held her at gunpoint in her Atlanta suburb home played out like a movie. And now it is one.

Captive, the new thriller from Paramount Pictures, recounts the chilling events for the big screen. Fresh off his buzzworthy performance as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., actor David Oyelowo takes on the role of paranoid captor Nichols alongside his co-star Kate Mara as Smith.

Rated PG-13, Captive doesn't shy away from the dark side of this harrowing story, but its focus is redemption.


Desperate to be a free man, accused rapist Brian Nichols (Oyelowo) shakes loose his bonds and goes on a killing spree as he alludes police at the Fulton County Courthouse in Atlanta, Georgia. With a massive manhunt on to catch him, Nichols lays low at the home of his hostage, single mother and drug addict Ashley Smith (Mara). Both would soon discover they'd have to make hard choices if they were ever going to get out of this alive and see their kids again.


This true-story thriller offers audiences a look inside what happened between Smith and Nichols that night and the part God, and Rick Warren's The Purpose-Driven Life, played in how the frightening ordeal ended. Oyelowo, a believer himself, felt so passionately about getting this faith story in theaters that he also worked as a producer on the Jerry Jameson-directed film.

Mara and Oyelowo have profound chemistry as hostage and captor. These talented actors unfold this up-close and personal story and you can't help but feel for both of them -- despite their crimes. It's a movie that reminds us that no one is unredeemable. We can choose to do the right thing and get a second chance at life. This faith-inspired message makes Captive one to see.

For those who know the story, it's not going to be as thrilling. Some of the intrigue and suspense is always lost when you know the outcome. Also, some of the dialogue and scene setups feel unrefined, which may disengage discriminating moviegoers.

Rated PG-13 for mature thematic elements involving violence and substance abuse, Captive is not suitable for younger audiences. Even though it has a powerful, biblical message, it is a mature story that covers adult themes.


Though Captive lacks a little bit of bite, its overall star-quality acting and message of hope redeem it.

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About The Author


Hannah Goodwyn served as a Senior Producer for, managing and writing for the award-winning website. After her undergraduate studies at Christopher Newport University, Hannah went on to study Journalism at the graduate level. In 2005, she graduated summa cum laude with her Master's from Regent University and was honored with an Outstanding Student Award. From there, Hannah began work as a content producer for For ten years, she acted as the managing producer for the website's Family and Entertainment sections. A movie buff, Hannah felt right at home working as's