Ryan Reynolds is headed back to the big screen, this time as a dad whose daughter goes missing in the upcoming film The Captive. The just-released trailer for the psychological thriller gives viewers a first look at Reynolds as Matthew Lane, a father struggling to figure out what happened to his daughter (played by Peyton Kennedy), particularly after evidence of her existence reappears eight years after her initial disappearance.
The movie, directed by Atom Egoyan and co-written with David Fraser, is set in Reynolds’ native Canada. The trailer also features Rosario Dawson and Scott Speedman as the two detectives on the case who temporarily suspect Matthew as the culprit behind his daughter’s disappearance. Eventually they uncover new evidence, including a hidden camera in Matthew’s wife’s (Mireille Enos) house, that leads them to realize there’s more at play.
The plot is reminiscent of 2013’s Prisoners, also directed by an Oscar-nominated director, Denis Villeneuve. But while both films revolve around a parent’s heartbreak in the aftermath of the disappearance of their young girls, it seems the similarities end there. While Prisoners received fairly positive reviews from critics, The Captive is already failing to impress viewers, even before its official release.
Critics unleashed a torrent of negative reviews after The Captive premiered at Cannes earlier this year. Many condemned the film’s all-too-familiar plot, which reviewers pointed out could’ve been plucked out of any other “overcooked rote thriller.” Others call the story simply “ludicrous.” So far, the flick only holds a measly 15 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
But the real reason disappointment in the film has been so palpable? Viewers were hoping it would be the start of an upward trend for the once-adored Egoyan, who received critical acclaim at Cannes for 1994’s Exotica and 1997’s Sweet Hereafter (which also earned the director an Oscar nomination), but then failed to achieve the same success with recent films Devil’s Knot and Chloe. Unfortunately for Egoyan, this movie hasn’t managed to win him back any favor so far.
The movie isn’t likely to help boost Reynolds’ career, either. The actor has been getting similarly criticized in reviews for his recent film projects — although whether that’s due to a run of bad luck or simply a string of bad choices on his part is up for debate. His starring role in 2011’s superhero flick Green Lantern gained unfavorable reviews. Reynolds’ other recent movies, like 2011’s comedy The Change-Up and 2013’s supernatural comic book adaptation R.I.P.D., also earned a poor reception from critics.
Still, as both audiences and studios know, unfavorable reviews don’t always signify that the movie in question will perform badly in theaters upon release. While Reynolds’ recent track record at the box office may not be encouraging, The Captive at least brings him away from the comedic and borderline silly action films he’s been churning out lately and into a more dramatic sphere, with heavier material to work with.
The trailer does a good job of reflecting that change with plenty of suspenseful-looking scenes and heart-thumping music. But it remains to be seen whether that will be enough to counteract the negative critical reaction and help pique audiences’ interest enough to get them into theaters.