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Thursday, June 20, 2019

Captive State 2019 * * Stars

Captive StateDirector: Rupert Wyatt
Year: 2019
Rated PG-13
Rating: * * Stars
Cast: John Goodman, Ashton Sanders, Vera Farmiga

Aliens that we rarely get to glimpse and are almost in the background, institute martial law on the human race. That's the layout of the sporadic and spasmodic, Captive State (my latest review).

"State" is yet another PG-13 thriller that takes place in dystopian Chicago, Illinois (this Mud City really needs to take a break from the film biz). Its look is so grubby, so inky, and so sunless, you can barely tell what's going on. Not to promote the essence of Mop & Glo floor cleaner but Captive State sure could have used a cinematic coat of it. When the squishy E.T.'s show up unannounced, you really need to squint to get your view on.

Captive State, which features an always reliable John Goodman in one of its leads, has a sense of urgency and can never be deemed as boring. The problem is this fast-paced vehicle lacks continuity with its rookie editor clearly on mock holiday (Andrew Groves has only been involved in shorts, TV movies, and TV series up until this point). Profuse characters of a serious nature fade in and out, scenes are storyboard-ed so quickly the viewer never gets a foothold, and Chicago locales like Soldier Field and Wicker Park feel a little too conspicuous to someone who lives there (like myself).

Oh well. At least the musical score by Rob Simonsen is disquieting, the Willis Tower is still standing, and scruffy co-star Alan Ruck goes full incognito (his days of playing Cameron Frye and T.S. are long gone). Bottom line: Captive State strives to be intelligent science fiction with a Matt Reeves and Neill Blomkamp flavor. Still, it gives your average conspiracy enthusiast no sound reason to latch on. "State" leaves the audience member adrift, lost, and held "captive" (ha-ha). Call it "district nein" as in "no". Rating: 2 stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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