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Captive State

Picture a political drama loaded with social commentary and then wrap it in an interesting science fiction adventure. What emerges is 2019's CAPTIVE STATE from Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes).

The film's opening credits barrage you with media reports that Earth has been taken over on a planetary scale. Every country has laid down their arms, governments have stepped aside. It's intentionally overwhelming and a strong start.

We then move forward ten years and focus on Chicago.

John Goodman is Detective William Mulligan, running a task force to track down an elusive group of insurgents battling to push back against a decade of alien rule.

He reports to Commissioner Igoe (Kevin Dunn of "Veep") who reports directly to the alien rulers buried deep under Chicago.

Mulligan is on the trail of the emerging rebel group, including Gabriel Drummond (Ashton Sanders of "Moonlight") who lives in the shadow of his legendary brother, dissident leader Rafe (Jonathan Majors).

The secret rebel group plot to show the world that humans CAN push back on a huge scale during a unity rally at Soldier Field.

The film turns into a suspenseful thriller in its middle as this operation is planned and executed by a fascinatingly eclectic group of six.

There are many layers to the story. You can watch it as a pure sci-fi film and enjoy it, or you can dig deeper and see commentary on the re-gentrification of neighborhoods and the balance of government power.

The aliens are interesting but not jaw dropping. The special effects are good, but not great, but the supporting cast is strong.

Vera Farmiga (Bates Motel) is a hooker with a hell of a client list, Ben Daniels (Rogue One) is a a heroic rebel leader, Kevin J. O'Connor (There Will Be Blood) is an alien loving policeman and Alan Ruck (Ferris Bueller's Day Off) is among the conspirators.

Loved the music score by Ron Simonsen (The Way Way Back).

The movie bombed at the box office and most critics and audiences didn't like it, but I thought it interesting, well acted and plenty of fun.

I especially liked the independent film vibe in an unexpected genre and the last ten minutes absolutely loaded with twists and surprises.

Goodman and Sanders elevate the material throughout.

CAPTIVE STATE was a pleasant surprise for me, and gets an enjoyable B.

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