Ross Clarkson’s CAPTURED Offers Entrancing Tension at Every Turn of the Screw
Written by Nick Murphy
A women has disappeared and is presumed dead. The police have a suspect, a photographer who knew the women. Based on his intimidating demeanor and dismissive attitude, he fits the profile of any person of interest involved in a missing person case. But appearances can be deceiving, and this fact is proven throughout the running time of CAPTURED, the taut and engrossing new thriller, written and directed by world-renowned cinematographer, Ross Clarkson.
CAPTURED stars, Oliver Williams, as Michael Roman, a passionate photographer with a mysterious past. The film begins with a disturbing bit of found footage featuring a beautiful French woman getting her face beaten to a bloody pulp, only to goad her aggressor for more. After that brutal opening, the action shifts to an interrogation room where Roman is questioned by two detectives who are certain they have their man, but they, unfortunately, do not have enough evidence to slap the handcuffs on and get him booked. And so the investigation continues, all the while, Roman is on the prowl, walking the streets of Hong Kong in search of the subject for his next photographic exhibition.
Roman finds his inspiration in Sunny (Sara Malakul Lane), a fragile young woman suffering from the trauma of an abusive relationship. During an anxiety triggered panic attack, Sunny stumbles to the edge of a subway lane and is saved by Roman a split second before leaping onto the tracks. What follows is an odd kind of courtship between man and woman, artist and muse. Or is it killer and victim? That lingering question provides the bulk of the film’s suspense. Is Michael Roman the murderer the police believe him to be? Or is he an unlikely avenging angel determined to pull tortured women out of perilous situations? Nothing is clear, and nothing is what it seems. It is not until the final rug pull in the film’s final moments where everything becomes crystal clear. Much can be said about the implications of the shocking finale, but it would be a crime to spoil them here. You will have to see the film for yourself.
Ross Clarkson is a veteran of movie sets, having been the director of photography on over thirty-five productions over the past twenty-five years. He has lensed the likenesses of movie legends such as: Jean Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren, Scott Atkins, Michael Jai White, Christian Slater, Donald Sutherland, Timothy Spall, Billy Zane, Tom Berenger, and Steven Seagal.
And with CAPTURED, Clarkson presents us with a new acting legend in the form of Oliver Williams, who delivers a striking and penetrating performance as Michael Roman, the photographer with a past. Williams glides through his role with the creepy charisma of Joaquin Phoenix crossed with the infectious charm of Tom Hiddleston. It is a wallop of a showcase for this actor’s talents and it’s worth watching just for that alone.
But CAPTURED offers much more than an impressive performance by its lead actors. Almost every moment of the film is loaded with tension as Roman grooms Sunny, the source of his artistic passion with flourishes of depth that are equal parts suspenseful, existential, and at times, oddly touching. But you are never quite sure what is really going on, which keeps the viewer on the edge of their seat until it’s finally revealed what the real score is. Added to this, the Hong Kong setting is an absorbing atmospheric element that acts as another character unto itself. Beautiful landscape shots of the city establish each sequence of the film, and it works wonders to immerse the audience into its world.
CAPTURED also features strong supporting performances from numerous international actors including: Andrew Ng and Jane Wong as the detectives on Roman’s trail, and Philippe Joly as the frantic and intimidating husband of one of the missing women that’s assumed to be one of Roman’s victims. The entire ensemble does a fantastic job bringing the film to life.
During its festival run, CAPTURED earned a multitude of awards, twelve overall. At the International Film Festival of Ahmednagar, it won Best Actor (Oliver Williams), Best Actress (Sara Malakul Lane), and Best Artist of the year for Sara Malakul Lane. It won The Spotlight Award at the Elevation Indie Film Awards. It was an Official Selection at both the Rome Independent Prisma Awards, and at the Lift Off First-Time Filmmaker Sessions. CAPTURED also received eight nominations at the “Blastoff” film awards in Los Angeles including Best Feature Film, Best Director, Best Leading Performer, Best Leading Acting Team, Best Acting Ensemble, and Best Cinematography. And the film did very well at the Guerilla Movie-Making Awards. In round 3, CAPTURED swept the competition winning Best Editing, Best Cinematography, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Film. Sharry Flaherty of Samera Entertainment acquisition CAPTURED for Acort International/Midnight Releasing and the film is set for release in April 2020.
With all the praise and accolades taken into account, it is clear that CAPTURED is a must-watch thriller for anyone looking for something that will keep them guessing from start to finish.