Home > Reviews > CAPTIVITY – Marco Beltrami

CAPTIVITY – Marco Beltrami

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Despite being reviled by pretty much every film critic who saw the film, Captivity nevertheless managed to become a popular and successful underground hit, and a memorable entry in the ‘torture porn’ sub-genre of horror films. Somewhat unexpectedly, the film is directed by Roland Joffé, the Oscar-winning filmmaker of The Mission and The Killing Fields, and stars Elisha Cuthbert as Jennifer Tree, a popular tabloid Hollywood starlet who awakens to find herself a prisoner in a grubby cellar, being systematically tortured by an attacker whose motives are unclear. And, basically, that’s it. Young Miss Cuthbert spends the movie enduring one sickening physical and psychological attack after another, until the movie ends. And this is what passes for entertainment these days?

Unlike Nathan Barr, who went down the melodramatic grand guignol road with his Hostel scores, Marco Beltrami’s score for Captivity is almost as nasty at the movie. A detuned piano and a slightly depraved-sounding zither twinkle over the top of the grating, grinding synths in the opening “Captivity”, like some kind of twisted circus march dancing to the tune of the unseen, unknown kidnapper. This motif is recapitulated later, in slightly warmer fashion, in “Puttin’ on the Ritz”, making it the score’s only identifiable thematic content.

Sound design plays a large role in the score, courtesy of Beltrami’s regular collaborator Buck Sanders; cues such as “Buzzard”, “Flashlight” consist of angry, irritating buzzes and industrial textures which achieve their aims in the context of the film, but make for a horrific listening experience outside of it. The action music, such as it is, are mainly relentless electronic rhythms which pulsate with slightly more urgency than the others – “Car Theft” and the conclusive “Eyedrops” are interesting examples of this, the former most notably for its inclusion of junkyard scrap in the percussion section – but beyond these few brief highlights, there isn’t much else to recommend, although Beltrami does have a knack for making this kind of thing music more interesting than the majority of his contemporaries.

The score for Captivity was not released commercially, and exists only as a 13-track 25 minute composer promo. Beltrami fans may find it an interesting experience, but beyond them (or fans of the movie, if there are any), I can’t see this one generating much of a following.

Rating: **

Track Listing:

  • Captivity (1:34)
  • Buzzard (1:56)
  • Did You See Saw? (1:21)
  • Cops Converse (0:41)
  • Flashlight (1:28)
  • Did You See Saw Too? (1:15)
  • Car Theft (2:25)
  • Wardrobe Malfunction (1:03)
  • Window Pain (1:48)
  • Puttin’ on the Ritz (3:38)
  • Gung-Ho Gary (2:12)
  • Knifed (2:08)
  • Eyedrops (3:49)

Running Time: 25 minutes 12 seconds

Composer Promo (2007)

  1. December 5, 2011 at 5:00 am

    Such a nice article which tackles the movie”Captivity” which has great performance for the art behind the scene. It would be good entertainment for the audience.

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