Higgins’s review published on Letterboxd:
What’s really effective about Captive State, a science fiction thriller from director Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) is the world building - The patience and intelligence of the film’s narrative structure, which just builds upon itself, bouncing from character to character. The story, about an alien occupation, gives each of the characters time to develop an identity and add to the story before handing that responsibility off to the next character. It’s subtle but effective.
Unlike many Hollywood a sci-fi flicks that rely of flash and effects, Captive State is concerned with its message. There are just enough CG to make the world believable but not enough to pull focus. Instead, the film delivers a smart and not subtle story about resistance versus complacency. It speaks about the way many of us normalize behavior that should be fought and how that can fracture our humanity. It also comments on the role of the people to even sacrifice, not just their comfort but their very lives, for this fight.
Captive State is a patient sci-fi thriller but one that’s worth the patience. In a world dominated by big, loud Hollywood spectacle, it’s nice to see a film that can play on the same playground as those films but do it in quiet, socially relevant way.