Through the years we have seen a variety of alien invasion films. We have witnessed many of the fights for survival and vicariously fended off the attackers. In the film Captive State, we focus on the aftermath of an invasion as a powerful alien race known as the Legislators are trying to unite the population they have controlled for years.
In this future Chicago, citizens work endlessly for the Legislators. The rarely seen creatures who run this city are both revered and vilified by the residents. Some are excited for the Unity Rally that promises to fill Soldier Field and is a must-have ticket, while others are repulsed by these dictators who have taken freedom away. But what can be done?
Gabriel Drummond (Ashton Sanders) works hours on end compiling data for an enormous storehouse of information. But given the way his family was assaulted at an earlier date, he definitely holds resentment toward the Legislators.
William Mulligan (John Goodman) is doing his best to protect Gabriel, his former partner’s son, from bad life choices and dissidence against the alien leaders. As a police officer, Mulligan is advancing in the ranks of the government, and his allegiance seems split. Is he there to help Gabriel, or are his motives less than altruistic?
A film that takes a very different look at an alien takeover from what we have seen in Hollywood through the years, Captive State is not just a new Independence Day. It goes deeper than explosions, dogfights and bigger-than-life effects.
In fact, this film — which was reportedly made on a budget that is a mere fraction of what many alien invasion tales spend — makes it really clear that the money is not spent on the onscreen effects. A sequence early in the film where Gabriel’s family encounters the creatures sent me down the wrong path because of the detail of the creatures’ look. This early reveal of the alien invaders had me scratching my head while leaving one thing very clear: The depth of the story and intrigue was where Captive State was attempting to succeed.
And because of the story, the film does succeed. Sanders is solid as the rebellious Gabriel, and Goodman always works in these types of roles. We don’t need big budgets and big effects to tell a frightening tale of a possible future under alien rule. Or is this more a tale of what could occur if any one group takes control of the country we all love? It’s an interesting concept to be explored in multiple viewings of this film.
Do we fight back against the aliens or assimilate into the society they want for us? I, for one, say, “Let’s fight back.”
Captive State is available On Demand and on DVD beginning June 11. Check your cable system for availability