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CAPTIVES(director: Angela Pope; screenwriter: Frank Deasy; cinematographer: Remi Adefarasin; editor: Dave King; music: Colin Towns; cast: Julia Ormond (Rachael Clifford), Tim Roth (Philip Chaney), Keith Allen (Lenny), Siobhan Redmond (Sue), Peter Capaldi (Simon), Colin Salmon (Towler), Kenneth Cope (Dr. Hockley), Richard Hawley (Sexton), Jeff Nuttall (Harold), Nathan Dambuza (Moses); Runtime: 100; MPAA Rating: R; producer: David M. Thompson; Miramax Films; 1994-UK)
“It leaves the cavities it touches upon not filled.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

This weird erotic thriller is a dangerous prison love story. It’s helmed by Angela Pope (“Kansas in August”) and written by Frank Deasy. There are many contrivances, as much of it is more loopy than convincing and less steamy than such a sleazy plot ought to be (probably because the film was made for the BBC). It leaves the cavities it touches upon not filled.

Emotionally drained London dentist Rachel Clifford (Julia Ormond), after a painful divorce from her adulterous dentist husband Simon (Peter Capaldi), volunteers to work in the high security Wandsworth Prison two days a week. There she meets during a dental check up the soft-spoken Philip Chaney (Tim Roth), who is finishing his ten year sentence. After he slips her a note, against her better judgment, she breaks prison regulations and visits him wearing a disguise during visiting hours and meets him during work day-release. They become better acquainted after a chat and soon screw on the floor in the woman’s lavatory. But Rachel begins to get the chills when she learns her new lover is serving time for killing his girlfriend. Their relationship soon becomes known, and things become scary when the menacing prison drug kingpin, the black inmate Towler (Colin Salmon), blackmails them–if Rachel doesn’t deliver a package for him he’ll get her fired and prevent Simon from getting parole. When Rachel finds out that he’s trying to smuggle a gun into the prison, she begins to balk.

Though some of the melodrama is questionable and the ending is brutally questionable, the two talented stars give passionately honest performances that are far beyond the trashy material and make this a character-driven film that’s as pleasurable as possible for such a painfully claustrophobic and far-fetched story.

REVIEWED ON 10/13/2008 GRADE: C+

Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”