Writer: Robert Budreau (Screenplay)
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Noomi Rapace, Mark Strong, Christopher Heyerdahl, Bea Santos, Mark Rendall, Ian Matthews
Plot: Based on the absurd but true 1973 bank heist and hostage crisis in Stockholm that was documented in the New Yorker as the origins of the ‘Stockholm Syndrome’.
Tagline – Based on an Absurd but True Story
Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Hawke is a Blast
Story: The Captor starts when American Kaj Hansson (Hawke) walks into a bank taking hostages in bank clerks Bianca Lind (Rapace) and Klara Mardh (Santos), he wants Gunnar Sorensson (Strong) released from prison along with his outlandish demands that Chief Mattsson (Heyerdahl) must try to put together.
As the hostage situation continue we start to see the truth unravel and see how Bianca starts to respect Kaj even feeling like she is part of the heist herself, can they make it out of the heist as the origin of the term ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ is born here.
Thoughts on The Captor
Characters – Kaj Hansson is the American that has walked into the bank, he doesn’t really have a plan, he knows what he wants though, he wants to be fair to his hostages, never actually wanting to hurt anybody, just to make sure the police see him as a threat. He starts to make friends with the hostages too. Bianca Lind is the bank clerk that has her own family and finds herself being held hostage, she becomes the stronger of the two women, she starts to become attracted to Kaj believing he isn’t a bad guy, this is her story. Gunnar Sorensson is the man that Kaj wants released from prison, he is one of the most famous bank robbers in the country and he sees the mistakes that Kaj is making, while having a deal with the Chief. Chief Mattsson is the man trying to end the situation, he is trying to stay one step ahead of Kaj to get everyone out alive.
Performances – Ethan Hawke is a delight to watch in this film, he plays the over the top which sums up what the character needs to be through this film. Noomi Rapace plays her role well giving us a character which is both interested and scared through the film. Mark Strong is the supporting acting for a generation, he brings his complex character to life with ease once again. Christopher Heyerdahl is strong through the film showing a determined, though calm man through the film.
Story – The story here follows a bank heist which led to the first case of Stockholm Syndrome, where the hostage falls in love with the hostage taker, we see how this hostage situation unfolds with the outlandish demands as the woman starts to fall for him. When it comes to bank heist movies, we have seen plenty, they usually revolve around the criminals and the police trying to stay ahead of each other, with this one we do have that, but we have the added dynamic of seeing how the hostages and takers start to bond when they see that everything can be kept under control, remember this is set in 1973 so the technology isn’t going to be a game changer in how everything is solved. Seeing both sides get to the talking can go through moments of slow story telling, but it isn’t long until Kaj goes a little bit crazy demanding our attention once again. With a subplot involving Gunnar’s position in the situation, we get to see how Kaj really doesn’t know what he is doing making it easier to help the hostages take sympathy with him. It was nice to have just normal police that aren’t looking to solve a personal problem with this case, which is so often the case in these stories.
Comedy/Crime – The comedy in the film comes from everything Kaj seems to do, from his outfit with wig, cowboy hat and American swagger, to how he overreacts to everything that is going on, the crime is loosely based on a real incident, with the names changed, it is a hostage situation, but you never feel like there is a threat.
Settings – Most of the film is set within the walls of the bank, it is a simple and well craft set that shows us just how the people have been thrown together in this situation.
Final Thoughts – This is a different way to tell a heist movie, it does show us how hostages can fall in love with their captors and overtime even support them, we get the routine hostage talks and end up right where we need to for the story to flow with ease.
Overall: Nice spin on the heist genre.