*“The Captive” – director Atom Egoyan’s tale about a kidnapped child and its effect on her grieving parents – got straight up booed during its premiere at Cannes over the weekend.
Matthew (Ryan Reynolds) and Tina (Mireille Enos) are the parents of 9-year-old Cass (Peyton Kennedy), who disappeared after her dad left her in his pickup truck for five minutes to buy her a pie. Cut to eight years later: 17-year-old Cass, it turns out, was snatched by the leader of a pedophile ring and has accepted her dismal fate.
Meanwhile, Dawson and Scott Speedman play detectives who specialize in crimes against children. Dawson’s Nicole Dunlop is the more compassionate one to Speedman’s volatile Jeffrey, who is convinced that Matthew sold Cass into child slavery.
Let’s just say the critics had their way with Egoyan’s latest effort – ripping everything from the script, to the direction, to the score. A common complaint was the film’s similarity to the recent Hugh Jackman/Jake Gyllenhaal film “Prisoners.”
Variety’s Justin Chang called “The Captive” “ludicrous,” adding, “Egoyan leaves a strong cast flailing to keep up with a contrived and fatally unconvincing drama that makes the recent ‘Prisoners’ look like a masterpiece in retrospect.”
The Playlist’s Jessica Kiang wrote, “Populate this sketchy version with the bargain-basement versions of the other film’s leads (Ryan Reynolds instead of Hugh Jackman, Scott Speedman instead of Jake Gyllenhaal), add in a villain so ludicrously evil that he should really twiddle the obviously skeezy pencil mustache he sports, and drench the whole lot in an omnipresent score that crashes and thuds along in ever more hysterical crescendos, and you have an idea of what we experienced this morning at Cannes. There were boos.”
The Wrap’s Steve Pond said it deserved the “outright boos”: “The abuse wasn’t unanimous at the Friday morning press screening of the overheated child-abduction thriller, but the boos were at least as loud as the applause for a film that at its best will be divisive.”
Also, The Playlist’s Kiang wasn’t the only critic blasting the mustache worn by pedophile Mika (Kevin Durand) as cliché. Variety’s Chang called it a “perv-alert mustache.” [See pic below.]
The facial hair even came up at the film’s press conference, where Ryan Reynolds and Kevin Durand had to remind Dawson that Mika’s mustache was at least one part of the character that fit the pedophile stereotype.
“The Captive” was picked up for U.S. distribution by A24. No word yet on when they’ll put it in theaters.