Posts Tagged ‘Mireille Enos’


Screen Shot 2014-09-05 at 4.59.07 PM“Canada AM” film critic Richard Crouse says “The Captive has good tension, but never really seems to gel,” and chats up a TIFF called “Red Alert.” It’s a 6 strar out of 5 movie… mostly because Richard is in it.

Watch the whole thing HERE!

THE CAPTIVE: 2 STARS. “some good thriller elements but is sunk by plot holes.”

the-captive-captives-cannes-2014-2The critics hammered “The Captive,” a new crime drama from director Atom Egoyan, when it played at the Cannes Film Festival. Reaction at the French fest was swift and brutal for a film that features some good thriller elements but is sunk by plot holes, logic lapses and simultaneous under and over acting.

Set in Niagara Falls, Ontario the beginning of the movie is a slow burn, using a broken timeline to weave the stories of a young detective (Scott Speedman) transferring from homicide over to the Special Victims Unit run by Nicole (Rosario Dawson) with the mysterious disappearance of Cass (Alexia Fast) who was taken from the backseat of her father’s (Ryan Reynolds) truck as he picked up some food at a diner.

Held captive for eight years by a pedophile (Kevin Durand), the girl is locked in a hidden apartment where she plays piano and watches streaming video of her mother (Mireille Enos) at work as a hotel maid. When she isn’t on lockdown she’s used as online bait for a pedophile ring, a recruiter for other young girls. The police investigation is a dead end until a clue from an unlikely source breaks the case.

“The Captive” has an interesting enough premise, but in an effort to differentiate itself from a score of similarly themed police procedurals, it makes a few wrong turns. The choppy timeline works well enough, helping to build some drama, and the pedophile’s habit of planting mementos from Cass’s life—a hairbrush, a figure skating trophy—in the hotel rooms her mother Tina cleans, and then watching her reactions, is unspeakably cruel.

But, like so much of the movie, there is bad along with the good. Tormenting Tina is creepily effective but it is played strictly for dramatic effect, leaving a major logic hole in the story. Tina doesn’t call the police until she has enough mementos to open a junk shop even though it would have been the best and easiest way to catch the bad guys… unless you’re in a movie called “The Captive.” On “Law and Order” they would have nailed this creep in no time flat.

But this isn’t “Law and Order,” it’s an attempt at a more nuanced style of storytelling, but for us to care about the grace notes of the story we have to care about the characters. The premise is heartbreaking, no parent could be expected to hold up when their child is taken but the parents never become characters. They stop just short, instead acting out the broad strokes of grief. Reynolds is a loose cannon, prone to lashing out while Enos redefines listless, handing in a performance that borders on somnambulistic.

Then there is the Durand problem. A good thriller needs a good baddie but Durand’s performance, which I suppose is meant to be eerily otherworldly, comes across like an Ed Wood Jr. villain, all pursed lips and whispered dialogue. It’s strange and ineffective work that plays in stark contrast to Enos’s understated performance.

Unlike the best of Egoyan’s films “The Captive” doesn’t work on any level other than the surface. Sure, there are multiple stories—a 90’s style police procedural, the aftermath of the kidnapping, the parent’s devastation and the opera singing deviant and his ring of pedophiles—but none are developed past the superficial.


The Captive’s Bruce Greenwood and Atom Egoyan make a dynamic movie duo

fhd007TSS_Bruce_Greenwood_013@013351.923By Richard Crouse – Metro In Focus

Bruce Greenwood first met director Atom Egoyan in a singles bar. “Atom was alone in the corner and I felt sorry for him,” says Greenwood. “We were introduced by a mutual friend.”

That was in the early 1990s, when Egoyan was on the brink of international acclaim as a director and Greenwood was a film and television star with a handful of movies and recurring roles on St. Elsewhere and Knots Landing under his belt. That chance meeting led to their first film together, Exotica, a study of loneliness and desire in a lap-dancing club that Roger Ebert called “a deep, painful film” in his four-star review. “We became good friends during that process,” said Greenwood, “and in the ensuing years.”

Three years later the pair collaborated on The Sweet Hereafter, an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Russell Banks about the effects of a tragic bus accident on the population of a small town. Greenwood earned a Genie Award nomination playing a grieving father and in 2002 readers of Playback voted it the greatest Canadian film ever made.

Next was a small role in Ararat, Egoyan’s story of a young man whose life is changed during the making of a film about the Armenian genocide, and then, in 2013, a cameo in Devil’s Knot. Greenwood played a judge in Egoyan’s retelling of the events leading up to the West Memphis Three murders and the “Satanic panic” that fuelled the hysteria surrounding the subsequent trial of teenagers Jessie Misskelley Jr., Damien Echols and Jason Baldwin.

These days Greenwood is best known for his work as Capt. Christopher Pike in the 2009 Star Trek film and its sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness, but he’s not too busy in Hollywood — the Quebec-born actor has lived in Los Angeles since the late 1980s — to reteam with his Canadian cohort. In Egoyan’s new psychological thriller, The Captive, Greenwood joins stars Ryan Reynolds, Scott Speedman, Rosario Dawson and Mireille Enos in a story of a child kidnapping. Egoyan says he and Greenwood share a shorthand that makes for easy work on set. As for Greenwood, he says he trusts the director, “more than anyone I’ve ever worked with. He can ask me to do anything and if my initial instinct is ‘Oh no,’ it ends up being the right idea. He’s a tremendous guy.”

Atom Egoyan: Filmmaker found inspiration in true child abduction cases

the-captive-mireille-enos-rosario-dawsonBy Richard Crouse – Metro Canada

Writing the screenplay for his new film was a tough experience for Atom Egoyan.

The Captive, starring Ryan Reynolds, is a fictional story about child abduction in the Niagara region but it has roots in reality.

Missing child posters in Egoyan’s hometown of Victoria, British Columbia haunted his dreams, giving him a heightened awareness of “this person who created this huge hole in another group of people’s lives.”

Those images, coupled with news of a pedophile ring in Cornwall, Ontario, inspired the hard-hitting story of a the mysterious disappearance of Cass (Alexia Fast), taken from the backseat of her father’s (Ryan Reynolds) truck as he picked up food at a diner. Held hostage by a pedophile (Kevin Durand), the girl is locked in a hidden apartment where she plays piano and watches streaming video of her mother (Mireille Enos) at work as a hotel maid.

“When the results of [the Cornwall case investigation] were announced I just found it so troubling,” he says. “I started writing this script in 2009 and put it aside for a while because it just felt too dark and then I began to think about it as three couples: A couple who are trying to understand what happened to their daughter. One couple who we aren’t sure should be together; the detectives (Scott Speedman and Rosario Dawson) who form a relationship over the course of the case. And then this other couple who you know should not be together, the pedophile who steals a child and holds her captive for eight years.

“When I began to see these three couples and examine the relationships it began to find a form.”

The next hurdle was finding a star. The Oscar nominated director, known for highbrow films like The Sweet Hereafter and Exotica found his leading man Reynolds at the movies.

“If I was to be honest,” he says, “I’d say the reason I was inspired to work with him was Safe House. There were elements in that film that were exciting to me.”

Reynolds says he’s always wanted to work with Egoyan, saying, “growing up as a Canadian kid who loved movies, you’ve got to understand that Atom Egoyan was a kind of Holy Grail to me.”

“That’s very sweet,” Egoyan says. “God, I’m not that much older than him. But I guess I am. I don’t think he saw Next of Kin and Family Viewing or Speaking Parts. He must be talking about starting with Exotica. I found that touching but I found his commitment and his desire to be in the film is what really brought the while film together.”

DEVIL’S KNOT: 3 STARS. “a good job of telling a fascinating, if somewhat familiar story.”

devils-knotLast year ago a documentary called “West of Memphis” detailed the gruesome murders of three children, the subsequent trial of teenagers Jessie Misskelley Jr, Damien Echols and Jason Baldwin, the court case that found them guilty and, finally, the evidence that suggested otherwise.

It was an in-depth look at a case that had already inspired three documentaries in the Paradise Lost series and a number of books.

Now comes “Devil’s Knot,” director Atom Egoyan’s dramatization of the events leading up to the murders and the “Satanic panic” that fuelled the hysteria surrounding the subsequent trial.

The movie’s first twenty minutes captures the easy-going pace of life in West Memphis, Arkansas. It’s into this dreamy setting that Pam Hobbs (Reese Witherspoon)  sends her young son off to play with a friend. She never sees her son alive again. After a massive search the boy and two others are found, hogtied and naked at the bottom of a stream, ominously called Devil’s Creek.

Blame for the deaths falls to three teens—Misskelley Jr (Kristopher Higgins), Echols (James Hamrick) and Baldwin (Seth Meriwether)—outsiders, heavy metal fans and suspected Satanists.

“You don’t look like that when you’re a normal person,” says Pam, taking in Damien’s all black attire and detached demeanor.

The case, ripe with flimsy evidence, attracts the attention of investigator Ron Lax (Colin Firth) who senses that the teens are being railroaded because they are different. “A town loses three of its children,” he says, “and then sacrifices three more in the name of revenge.”

The rest of the story is well documented. The three are found guilty and serve eighteen years until the three were offered an Alford Plea, a little used petition that sees them released from prison on the proviso that they plead guilty to the crime.

In the past the story has usually been told from the point of view of the “killers” and their supporters. “Devil’s Knot” focuses on the Hobbs family—including stepfather Terry, who, it is suggested may have been involved in the killing—and the private investigator. It’s a slightly different take on the tale, although the details are familiar from the other retellings of the story.

The connect-the-dots procedural is buoyed by some top-flight performances. As Vicki Hutcherson, a woman tempted by Echols’ charisma, Mireille Enos is a live wire and Witherspoon deftly captures the grief of a mother and the skepticism of someone who is not buying into her town’s lynch mob mentality.

“Devil’s Knot” does a good job of telling a fascinating, if somewhat familiar story. Fans of the “Paradise Lost” and “West of Memphis” movies won’t find much new information here, but Egoyan has stripped away the clinical nature of the documentary to reveal the personalities behind the headlines.