Captive (2015 film)

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Captive (2015 film) poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJerry Jameson
Screenplay by
Based onUnlikely Angel
by Ashley Smith
Produced by
  • Lucas Akoskin
  • Terry Botwick
  • Alex Garcia
  • David Oyelowo
  • Ken Wales
  • Katrina Wolfe
CinematographyLuis David Sansans
Edited byMelissa Kent
Music byLorne Balfe
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • September 18, 2015 (2015-09-18) (United States)
Running time
97 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$2 million[2]
Box office$2.8 million[3]

Captive is a 2015 American crime-drama thriller film directed by Jerry Jameson and written by Brian Bird and Reinhard Denke, based on the non-fiction book Unlikely Angel by Ashley Smith.

A true story about Brian Nichols, who escapes from the Fulton County courthouse in Atlanta on March 11, 2005 and holds Ashley Smith as a hostage, the film stars David Oyelowo as Nichols and Kate Mara as Smith. Filming began in October 2013 in North Carolina. The film was released worldwide on September 18, 2015 by Paramount Pictures.


On March 11, 2005, Brian Nichols escapes from the Fulton County courthouse in Atlanta, during his trial involving a rape case. In the process of the escape he murders the judge presiding over his trial, Rowland Barnes, as well as court reporter Julie Brandau. He also shoots Sergeant Hoyt Teasley while escaping from the courthouse, and then later kills ICE Special Agent David G. Wilhelm, who was off-duty at his home.

Nichols becomes the subject of a citywide manhunt. His frantic escape brings him to the apartment of Ashley Smith, a single mother and recovering methamphetamine addict, whom he holds hostage. Smith gets through the time by being inspired by Rick Warren's best-selling book The Purpose Driven Life while Nichols searches for redemption. As she reads aloud, Smith and her would-be killer come to a crossroads. Nichols eventually turns himself to the police.




On October 15, 2013, David Oyelowo and Kate Mara joined the thriller Captive based on the true story of Brian Nichols, who escapes from the courthouse in Atlanta on March 11, 2005, murdering the judge, a court reporter, a sheriff's deputy, and an off-duty federal agent.[4] Later, he takes Ashley Smith hostage at her own house.[4] BN Films set Jerry Jameson to direct the film, which was adapted by Brian Bird and Reinhard Denke, based on the Smith's non-fiction Unlikely Angel.[4] Alex Garcia, Lucas Akoskin, Terry Botwick, Oyelowo and Ken Wales would be producing the film through Brightside Entertainment, 1019 Entertainment and Yoruba Saxon Productions.[4] Oyelowo was set to play Nichols, Mara to play Smith, while Leonor Varela and Mimi Rogers were also in the cast.[4] Michael K. Williams joined the film's cast on October 24, 2013 to play Detective John Chestnut.[5] Jessica Oyelowo's involvement was confirmed on March 16, 2015, along with Jameson and Katrina Wolfe as producers.[6]


Principal photography on the film began in October 2013 in North Carolina.[7]


On March 16, 2015, Paramount Pictures acquired the worldwide distribution rights to the film and set the film for a September 18, 2015 release date.[6] On June 16, 2015, the first trailer for the film was released.[8]


Captive has received generally negative reviews from critics, although praise was given towards the lead actors' chemistry. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a rating of 27%, based on 52 reviews, with an average rating of 4.5/10. The site's consensus reads, "Captive undermines committed performances from Kate Mara and David Oyelowo – and the real-life story they're dramatizing – with a thin script doubling as an ad for a self-help book."[9] James Rocchi of The Wrap called it "A Lifetime movie shoved into a cage and fattened with sermons and platitudes until it is ready to be served up cold and bland."[10] But Linda Cook of the Quad City Times called it "a top-notch, captivating film."[11] Michael Foust of The Christian Post labeled it "one of the most inspiring movies I've ever seen" and added it was "not the typical Christian movie."[12] Foust wrote, "I suspect the movie ... succeeds because we can see a bit of ourselves in Smith or even Oyelowo, two broken people whose lives intersect on a tragic day in which the power of God's Word triumphed."[13] On Metacritic the film has a score of 36 out of 100, based on 19 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[14]


In the film, Nichols is depicted shooting Judge Barnes from the front when in real life, Nichols snuck into the courtroom from the back and shot Barnes from behind. He is also shown killing Deputy Teasley inside the courthouse, when Nichols actually killed Teasley after he ran outside. Also, Nichols shot Teasley five times, while in the movie, he shoots him only twice.

Nichols took four hostages before the killings but in the film, he doesn't take any hostages aside from Smith.


  1. ^ "CAPTIVE (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. August 19, 2015. Retrieved August 19, 2015.
  2. ^ Pamela McClintock (September 16, 2015). "Box-Office Preview: 'Maze Runner: Scorch Trials' Hopes to Sprint Past 'Black Mass'". The Hollywood Reporter. (Prometheus Global Media). Retrieved September 16, 2015.
  3. ^ "Captive (2015)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved November 17, 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d e Kit, Borys (October 15, 2013). "David Oyelowo, Kate Mara to Star in True-Life Thriller Captive (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 17, 2015.
  5. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (October 24, 2013). "Boardwalk Empire's Michael K. Williams Gets Captive". Retrieved March 17, 2015.
  6. ^ a b Hipes, Patrick (March 16, 2015). "Captive Starring David Oyelowo & Kate Mara Acquired By Paramount". Retrieved March 17, 2015.
  7. ^ "Captive Feature Film Starring Kate Mara and David Oyelowo Casting Call for Extras in North Carolina". October 20, 2013. Retrieved March 17, 2015.
  8. ^ Robinson, Will. "Captive trailer: David Oyelowo holds Kate Mara hostage". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
  9. ^ "Captive". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  10. ^ "'Captive' Review: Kate Mara and David Oleweyo Thriller Fails to Thrill". TheWrap. September 17, 2015. Retrieved April 1, 2018.
  11. ^ Cook, Linda. "Christian audience finally get a captivating film with 'Captive'". The Quad-City Times. Retrieved April 1, 2018.
  12. ^ "Movie Review: 'Captive' Is Inspiring Re-Telling of 2005 'Purpose Driven' Hostage Crisis". Retrieved April 1, 2018.
  13. ^ "Movie Review: 'Captive' Is Inspiring Re-Telling of 2005 'Purpose Driven' Hostage Crisis". Retrieved April 1, 2018.
  14. ^ "Captive". Metacritic. Metacritic. Retrieved September 26, 2015.

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