The Captor is a heist movie with a twist, only it relies on Ethan Hawke’s highly entertaining performance.
The Captor is directed by Robert Budreau (Born to be Blue) and stars Ethan Hawke (Training Day), Noomi Rapace (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) and Mark Strong (Shazam!), and is based on the origin of the term Stockholm Syndrome.
The Captor follows a cowboy hat wearing bank robber, Kaj Hansson (Hawke), as he uses his All-American swagger strolling into a bank in Stockholm, Sweden, releasing everybody bar two bank clerks, Bianca Lind (Rapace) and Klara Mardh (Santos), as he plans to get his best friend Gunnar Sorensson (Strong) released from prison after getting caught on his previous bank robbery. We see how the whole hostage situation unfolds, including seeing how Bianca starts to fall in love with Kaj over the course of the situation.
The Captor‘s story is loosely based on a real bank heist which did involve a gunslinging American who did see his hostage fall in love with him, creating the term ‘Stockholm Syndrome’. That side of the film should be the drawing point for the story because it does bring a new spin on the heist movie; we don’t need to see another criminal versus cops, which has become the go-to story, and which usually focuses on a cop that needs to make amends for his previous mistakes or a criminal with a moral reason for getting themselves into the situation. The whole heist itself does end up feeling just like every other one though, which holds back the idea of a hostage falling in love side of the story, because we do sadly spend too much time dealing with the negotiations going on between the two sides. The demands are too outlandish to make anything seem like it could be made possible, leading us to go nowhere in these talks.
The Captor has a performance from Ethan Hawke which is the clear highlight of the film. He does go over the top, which is required for the role, but he does know when to hold everything back for certain moments in the film. Noomi Rapace shows that she can adapt once again, showing us just how a loving wife and mother can start to fall in love with each glance and moment that stops her getting hurt. Mark Strong doesn’t put a foot wrong with his performance, he just doesn’t get anything that challenges him to be more than just a strong supporting performance.
The Captor is meant to be based on an absurd true story, which adds to the comedy to the film because Kaj makes us laugh at times with some of his wild antics through the film; even his image of being a cowboy wearing 70’s Americana. The crime is the confusing part of the film because we do have a bank heist and the only demand seems to be to get Gunnar out of prison, there isn’t a plan in place until later with the monetary factor added to the heist. The whole film is set within the walls of the bank, so it does show how the criminals put themselves in a difficult position if they ever wanted to get away with the crime.
Overall The Captor is a heist movie loosely based on a real event that could have focused on the Stockholm Syndrome a lot more than it does, instead of just letting Ethan Hawke steal the show.