Rachel (Julia Ormond) is a beautiful dentist who also works part-time in a prison. She’s having a difficult time as she’s splitting from her cheating husband and selling their house.
During her prison clinic hours, she meets one of the inmates, Philip (Tim Roth) and they form a connection. She later runs into him outside the prison as he’s nearing the end of his sentence and is allowed to spend a certain amount of time outside. As the attraction grows between them, she can’t decide if she should just go with the flow or be reasonable. But she knows that Philip will be risking more than she does and she starts being with him.
Of course there’s a lot at risk: her job, his freedom and the question lurking at the back of her mind: what was his crime?
And as they soon realize, getting found out by his inmates might prove to be a lot more dangerous than being found out by the authorities…
Captives is a romantic/drama/crime film from 1994 that could have easily turned into an overacted and overdone film in Hollywood. But luckily, this English film doesn’t overdo anything, except maybe the characters of Colin Salmon and Mark Strong– but then again, the whole point of their existence is to jeopardize Philip and Rachel, and to annoy us to no end.
It’s also interesting to be rooting for the criminal to get the girl. Oh, his character is cool and extremely likeable and their relationship is a wonderful combination of passion, connection, attraction, tenderness and surprise – but the guy isn’t innocent. And his crime isn’t something you can digest easily- he didn’t go avenging the murderers of his child (like in Death Sentence, Edge of Darkness) or go all Robin Hood or something. And yet even after we learn it, I still want the relationship to go on. I’m calling this the Tim Roth effect.
Nope, I don’t go for bad guys. And that’s the point. He has one black spot in a whitish character, and even though that black spot is horrific, you totally get how it could have happened, and how come Rachel could have accepted it. Actually, his case could have been an episode of an American legal series where he’d get off with the temporary insanity defense…
It also has the only romantic bathroom (and by that I mean a stall in the ladies room in a bar) sex scene I’ve ever seen in a movie. Yes, it is in the bathroom. And it isn’t sleazy, it is sexy as hell and it is ultimately very romantic. Apparently romantic bathroom sex is no longer an oxymoron.
Then there is this intense level of chemistry and innocence that Julia Ormond and Tim Roth bring to their roles that make it all the more watchable.
It is good. It has its slow moments, but I buy the romance and it is what really matters. Buying a story you thought you’d never buy.
Also on Julia Ormond:
Also on Tim Roth: