On March 11, 2005, Brian Nichols (David Oyelowo) was being escorted from jail to the Fulton county courthouse where he was scheduled to go on trial for assault, kidnapping, and rape. At the courthouse, however, he overpowered a sheriff’s deputy (Diva Tyler), took her gun, and embarked on a bloody killing spree in which he killed the judge, a court reporter, a police sergeant, and a federal agent.
Nichols then hijacked several vehicles and went from Atlanta, Georgia to its suburb Duluth. There, he accosted Ashley Smith (Kate Mara) on the street and, at gunpoint, forced her to take him home with her.
Once in the apartment, Ashley smashed her head against the wall in frustration even though she was doing her best to comply with Brian’s demands. She was well aware that he was armed, extremely dangerous, and was the subject of the biggest manhunt in Georgia history. Ashley, who was a single mother, didn’t want to do anything stupid that might jeopardize her chances of ever seeing her daughter Paige (Elle Graham) again, especially since, as a recovering meth addict, she had already been forced to surrender custody of her daughter to an Aunt (Mimi Rogers).
Meanwhile, the police were closing in. Since Brian had left his cell phone on, they were able to narrow his location to within a three-mile radius of the cell tower that was sending out his signal. They even spoke to him and suggested that he give himself up, which he refused to do.
A seven hour ordeal ensued during which Ashley and Brian not only bonded, but also experienced a life transforming catharsis. Thanks to Ashley’s Narcotics Anonymous sponsor, she had a copy at home of The Purpose-Driven Life, the inspirational bestseller by Pastor Rick Warren.
In response to Brian’s admission that “I’ve got a demon in me,” Ashley asked him if she could share some of the insights that were in the popular self-help guide such as: “The greatest tragedy is not death, but life without purpose,” and, “When life has meaning, you can bear almost anything.”
Warren’s inspirational messages resonated with Brian and he surrendered soon afterwards. Thus unfolds Captive, a tale of redemption directed by Jerry Jameson.
The movie is a riveting psychological thriller about a nationally publicized standoff that is told from the perspective of two troubled souls who were barricaded in a home surrounded by a SWAT team.
Very Good (***). Rated PG-13 for mature themes involving violence and substance abuse. Running time: 97 minutes. Distributor: Paramount Pictures.