Sunday, September 27, 2015
"Captive": true story of an addicted single mom taken hostage by an escaped prisoner, borrows on Rick Warren's bestseller
“Captive”, directed by Jerry Jameson, purports to be a true story, based on the book “Unlikely Angel” by Ashley Smith (Kate Mara) of her being held hostage in her own apartment by escaped prisoner Brian Nichols (David Olewoyo), in March 2005 in Atlanta. Nichols overpowered a female guard (after assistants called in sick), shot and killed a judge, an FBI agent, and two others in his escape.
Smith is presented as a meth addict, with barely enough incentive to recover, so she can get reunited with her daughter and eventually regain custody (as a single mom). So this is a story scenario that indeed sounds like Screenwriting 101, with the most desperate people possible. But it’s being based on truth turns the tables. And a major plot feature us how a friend has given her an unwelcome “free copy” of Pastor Rick Warren’s best-selling book “The Purpose-Driven Life” (2002), and how her reading to Nichols from the book calms him down and persuades him to let her go, leading to his recapture.
For example, a movie based on taking someone “cleancut” hostage might be more challenging or send a different message, perhaps presenting a protagonist not used to playing victim and “needing” God.
The passage from Warren that she reads has to do with “what has been given” to “you” by God. Nichols says he hasn’t been given anything compared to other people (and he denies the original crimes. But Kate points out that Brian has a son. Maybe despite the expected life sentences, he really can see the boy some day.
I take with a “grain of salt” the idea that one best-selling book can change a life. I don’t claim to be able to motivate people or “make them all right” in my “Do Ask, Do Tell” books, despite being hounded about sales and popularity.
The official site is here from Paramount (Vantage) and has the culture of independent religious film. Paramount announces the film with its 100th Anniversary logo.
The end credits show Oprah Winfrey talking to both Smith and Rick Warren, who writes "It's not about you." But I have never seen Christianity in terms of a highly personalized God. I see it through quantum physics.
I saw the film before a small Sunday night audience at AMC Hoffman in Alexandria. The film does show some aerial shots of Atlanta, but it was actually filmed mostly in Charlotte and Mexico City.
Picture: downtown Atlanta, my June 2004 trip.