Robert Budreau’s thriller has travelled the film festival circuit with the title Stockholm since its Tribeca debut last year but arrives in the UK under new guise The Captor. Loosely based on an article from The New Yorker in 1974 by Daniel Lang, it’s the retelling of the bank heist that caused the media to coin the phrase ‘Stockholm Syndrome’; the feelings of trust or affection in cases of kidnapping or hostage-taking by a victim towards a captor. Ethan Hawke stars as said captor Kaj Hansson who attempts an armed robbery, with Noomi Rapace taking the part of the victim Bianca Lind.
With very little time for build-up, the narrative thrusts us straight into the hold-up in the opening act. The perpetrator is ludicrously kitted out in a Stetson hat, big wig, and silly glasses but sadly the reveal of his appearance is where the amusement ends. There’s not enough menace or threat from the protagonist to make the story dramatic or thrilling, and the script isn’t funny enough for it to be considered a comedy. The tone finds itself somewhere in the middle, and the undeniable talents of an impressive cast are largely wasted. Even the strange romance between Kaj and Bianca feels completely empty, as neither’s motivations are made clear.
On the surface, the premise is fascinating, and it’s adapted from what should be an edge-of-the-seat tale of intensity. However, much like Kaj himself, once the cool façade is gone and the 70s sheen is scratched away, the film becomes boring and meaningless. Unlike Sidney Lumet’s crime genre flick of the same ilk, Robert Budreau’s The Captor makes for a drag day afternoon.