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March 29, 2019

Captive State (2019) --- “10 Years Ago They Took Our Planet. Today, We Take It Back”

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Hello, Movie Buffs! 
     10 years ago an alien race invaded Earth and since then the humans must adhere to a strict set of rules and their new overlords, the Legislators. In rundown Chicago, Gabriel Drummond (Ashton Sanders) joins the resistance, to ignite a war against the Roaches (Legislators). However, he soon finds himself under the careful scrutiny of police officer Bill Mulligan (John Goodman) who wants to crush the resistance’s plans for freedom and keep the “peace” going between the alien and human race. But Earth is anything but a peaceful place. Will the resistance succeed in their plans for freedom? Or will the Legislators’ succeed in crushing their resistance to the core? Directed by Rupert Wyatt (The Gambler) and co-written by Erica Beeney (The Battle of Shaker Heights), Captive State (2019) is an entertaining and surprisingly thought-provoking alien invasion docu-drama.

     While Captive State was entertaining, I barely remember seeing any trailers for it and which does not bode well for a film that opens the same weekend as two highly anticipated films, Captain Marvel and Jordan Peele's Us. Not to mention the fact that it is hard to decipher from the trailers that this is an alien invasion film, which makes sense once you see it. Captive State partially succeeds in what it set out to do because it's hard to see where the film is taking you until the end.  While we know that there is a resistance, the players themselves are unknown and are instead slowly revealed throughout the entire film. This can be hard for those who are not true sci-fi fans to be patient enough to to find out. In addition to being more thought-provoking than most alien invasion films, Captive State focuses more on the characters then it does on the science fiction which is new take that was unexpected but in a good. Of course, I have to admit that I am a huge alien invasion fan and I was a little disappointed when I found out that this film does not have some of the elements that I was expecting. Nevertheless, it was still entertaining and what it lacked in sci-fi action, it made up for it by being thought-provoking. Half the time your following along with the film trying to figure out what's going on and by the end your left wondering what really happened. Did the plan fail or did it actually, succeed in the only possible?
     Despite having very little hype and action, the ensemble cast was great. John Goodman (Roseanne) is good at always and Ashton Sanders (Moonlight) proved to have some nice acting chops. The rest of the supporting cast -  Jonathan Majors, Vera Farmiga, Kevin Dunn, James Ransone, Alan Ruke, and more - also gave great performances, although I do wish a few had more screen time then what they got.

     Overall, Captive State (2019) is an entertaining and thought-provoking alien invasion, docu-drama that could have been more successful if there was a bit more action and if it wasn’t released alongside two highly anticipated films. Nevertheless, the film managed to partially succeed in what it set out to do, deliver a thought-provoking story that will keep you guessing until the end and then some. The cast gave great performances and the fact that their development took center stage was an unexpected element. All in all, I enjoyed this film and I can easily say that if you're looking for an intellectual type of sci-fi film then you should check this one out.

Final Vote --- 7 of 10 stars

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