Captive Screen 4 articles



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  • Besides being stingy with context, Mendoza keeps viewer identification to a minimum, a tactic that worked better in Kinatay, but here comes across as flat and affectless. Packed with date-and-location stamps and shot and cut in a squashed, unvarnished handheld style that makes everything look the same, it’s a movie of people being continually herded from one place to another, ducking tree branches and occasional gunfire, and being treated by their captors like human cattle.

  • English is the lingua franca of Brillante Mendoza's The Captive, which seems to have been directed by his younger brother, Mediocre Mendoza. Based on a true story of the kidnapping of a group of tourists and Christian missionaries by a group of armed men belonging to a militant Islamist group, it fails the first principal of a disaster movie: identification with the victims.

  • There are actionful peaks — a battle against the army in and around a country hospital is hair-raising — but the film's strategy doesn't condense or dramatize for convenience's sake; the ordeal is open-ended, maddening, sometimes dull, always open to ambivalence and disappointment. At the same time, Mendoza's in-your-grille filmmaking keeps us lost in the jungle, and we can feel the fire ants and smell the rot.

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    Film Comment: Yonca Talu
    May 05, 2015 | May/June 2015 Issue (p. 75)

    In one of the strongest entries in his daring and versatile body of work, Filipino director Brillante Mendoza takes us to the jungle... The narrative in this ensemble effort is hallucinatory and immersive, intensified by the unsettling energy of the breathless and volatile camerawork. But stylistic merits aside, it's through the urgency of its subject that Captive is most compelling today.