Critical Condition: Captive

Captive (Netflix, streaming now)


Captive, a smart, character-driven documentary thriller, aims to be the fact-based version of one of those taut suspense thrillers starring Liam Neeson. Each of the show’s eight episodes tells the story of a different hostage crisis, dramatising tense, high-stakes negotiations through a combination of archival recordings, present-day interviews and artful re-creations. It’s the latest spin on TV’s true crime craze, with the focus here on kidnapping and extortion. Murder plays a part in Captive, but the series is less about the taking of life than the minute-by-minute effort to avoid that outcome … If you’re in the mood for a bit of pulse-pounding true crime that’s tastefully presented and won’t require an enormous time commitment, Captive is a perfect choice.” — Los Angeles Times.

Captive is an eight-part docu-series that explores hostage situations with a gritty, true crime feel, reconstructing some of history’s most complex and high-stakes negotiations using vintage footage as victims recount their terrifying ordeals … Each episode looks at a wide range of situations from the viewpoint of everyone involved, including the victims and their families back home, the experienced negotiators, business leaders, government officials and sometimes the kidnappers themselves.” — The Wrap.

“The show revisits hostage-takings in eight countries from Brazil to Chechnya to Yemen, using first-hand interviews, archival footage and glossy reconstructions to piece together precise accounts of events often shrouded in confusion and terror. At first, it’s not clear what Captive hopes to achieve beyond raising the audience’s collective heart rate but, over time, a few factors begin to elevate the show beyond its superficial sales pitch as a sleek but repetitive odyssey through the ‘List of hostage crises’ Wikipedia entry. Most remarkably, episodes regularly secure the participation of both victims and perpetrators, granting the audience a more nuanced understanding of events by allowing them to observe from two angles.” — The Guardian.

“Despite having echoes of the hugely successful Netflix show Making a Murderer, Captive stands apart as a series that explores eight individual cases, and which has benefited from The Bourne Identity director, Doug Liman, giving it the edge of a psychological thriller. We spoke to Captive’s co-producer Simon Chinn – also the mastermind behind the Oscar-winning Man on Wire documentary – about how the Captive crew gained such unprecedented access, and how he exposed the inner-workings of hostage negotiation like never before.” — Radio Times.

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