Ryan Reynolds can't catch a break.
Increasingly, he's becoming the go-to guy for crafting gripping and often great performances in movies that fail to rise to the occasion (see also: The Voices, The Nines etc).
The Captive is the latest super-divisive thriller to hit Cannes, and while it's far from terrible, it can't help but sit uncomfortably - and glaringly - in the shadow of last year's superior child abduction thriller Prisoners .
Atom Egoyan's effort is another tale of a sudden and senseless childhood abduction from a sleepy snow-bound North American town, the desperate mission to find them, and the inevitable domestic and emotional implosion of the family and cops around them.
Allegedly, Egoyan's none too pleased with the constant comparisons to last year's aforementioned thriller. But that begs the question whether using a title that acts as a simple synonym to its closest cinematic bedfellow, and an equally clunky metaphor (the characters are all captive/prisoners in their feelings/actions see?), was the savviest decision.
Regardless, The Captive does have some interesting things to bring to the thriller table, even if they're not entirely successful.
By focusing as much on the antagonist as the mental trauma affecting those left behind, it certainly opens up the plot possibilities - but it's an intriguing approach disappointedly brought down by Kevin Durand's performance as the nefarious child-napper Mika. While it's arguable that paedophile ringleaders are never going to be the most stable of folks, Mika's a theatrical, bizarre oddity brought to life with all the moustache twirling preposterousness of your finest panto villains.
And while a temporally hopscotching narrative brings in Mement o -esque comparisons, there seems less of a meticulous, cleverly arranged order at play.
Again, strong performances from Rosario Dawson as the officer at the fore of the investigation, and Mireille Enos as the abductee's grieving, tortured mother are resolved either too lazily or apathetically.
Which brings us back to Reynolds yet again - a sturdy, stubbly and emotionally fragmented figure who anchors the whole tale despite the 90s-esque clunkiness of the proceedings around him.