Captive State is a science fiction thriller directed by Rupert Wyatt and co-written by Wyatt and Erica Beeney. The film follows a young man who is a participant in the conspiracy argument against an alien race that has invaded Earth, and enforced strict martial law on all humans. I had never heard of this movie and after seeing it, I know why. I found it confusing at best. It received mixed reviews from critics and has grossed $5 million worldwide.
Currently, Chicago is placed under martial law when extraterrestrials invade across the globe. The Drummond family is attempting to flee the city but every exit is barricaded. After breaking through an unmanned barricade that lead inside a tunnel, the car had to stop because extraterrestrials were waiting at the other end. Before they could put the car in reverse, the aliens attacked, vaporizing the father and mother in the front seat of the car, leaving their two sons traumatized but alive in the backseat.
Nine years later, the world has succumbed to the invaders and submitted to their governing authority, calling the aliens “The Legislators”, because all subsequent laws and rules of governance come from them. In the years that followed Earth’s surrender, the extraterrestrials conscripted humans to build suitable alien habitats far underground; the Chicago habitat is located in a region called the “Closed Zone” and is walled off from the rest of the city. Access to the Closed Zone is only granted to high government officials and requires intense preparation after an invitation is extended and before admittance. The aliens utilize Earth’s own human resources to police the population, including military and law enforcement, now called “Special Branch” and have placed biological implants in every citizen, which serve as identification when scanned by surveillance drones or other apparatus. Their use of propaganda and false narratives that state the country is prospering, allows the aliens to successfully lull the public into a submissive state.
Gabriel Drummond (Ashton Sanders), the youngest of the sons who survived when his parents were vaporized years ago, lives in the impoverished neighborhood of Pilsen with his girlfriend Rula (Madeline Brewer) and tries to avoid any confrontations with the law. Gabriel is working at a scheme to escape using a boat he and his friend Jurgis (Machine Gun Kelly) have salvaged to cross Lake Michigan, hopefully to freedom. In the meanwhile, his day job is in a data reclamation center where various storage devices are seized to upload private content to a central server, which ultimately delivers citizen’s personal information to authorities and The Legislators. One day at work Gabriel witnesses a coworker attempt to smuggle a memory card out of the building and she is caught by government agents, then deported off-world. He is later confronted by Chicago Police Commander William Mulligan (John Goodman), who was partners with Gabriel’s father before the invasion. Mulligan is convinced that the resistance group called Phoenix has not been neutralized, contrary to what the public has been told.
As you can see, this is a very complicated plot because it gets deeper with each passing minute. I haven’t begun to reveal the meat of this story. Don’t forget, Gabriel has a brother, Rate (Jonathan Majors) or that there was or is a resistance. There are clues and flash drives and all sorts of twist and turns that go into this puzzling story. You never really get the sense that you completely know what’s going on nor do you get the sense that you know where this film is going, even when it goes. I think a lot more story telling was needed in order to bring closure to Captive State. There were too many loose ends introduced that didn’t really flow into the story line, leaving too much to the imagination. I’m unsure what was happening at the end, (maybe it was just over my head) leaving me confused and unfulfilled. I’m not saying someone else might not understand it, but I am saying a descent story could have been a great story with some much needed tweaking. Of course this is my opinion so Check It Out if you dare!