Boos, bad reviews at Cannes for Atom Egoyan’s new film

ABOVE: Both Ryan Reynolds and Ryan Gosling received some hearty boos when their movies debuted at the Cannes Film Festival recently. 

TORONTO — Ryan Reynolds’ new movie The Captive premiered last week at the Cannes film festival to a chorus of boos and scathing reviews.

The Captive, directed by Toronto’s Atom Egoyan and filmed last year in Ontario, is about parents (Reynolds and Mireille Enos) searching for their daughter kidnapped by a pedophile (Kevin Durand). Rosario Dawson and Scott Speedman play police detectives.

“The plotting here is so hopelessly tangled, clichéd, and bereft of psychological complexity that it’s difficult to care what happens to any of these people,” wrote David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter.

“The director renders an already bogus story more preposterous by lathering it in portentous solemnity.”

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Opined Mike D’Angelo of The Dissolve: “After seeing The Captive this morning, I’m now open to the idea that Atom Egoyan, whom I used to cite (back in the 1990s) as my favorite living filmmaker, should be put out to pasture.”

D’Angelo called the movie a “ludicrous art-schlock crapsterpiece.”

READ MORE: Cannes coverage

On the eve of the film’s Cannes debut, Egoyan said The Captive would “redefine” Reynolds’ career.

But Variety reviewer Justin Chang complained Egoyan “leaves a strong cast flailing to keep up with a contrived and fatally unconvincing drama.”

Many critics wondered why The Captive was chosen to compete for this year’s Palme d’Or.

“Aggressively stupid when it’s not downright illogical, it is hard to imagine a film less deserving for a competition slot at this year’s Cannes Film Festival — a subpar Law & Order episode at best,” wrote Peter Labuza of the Film Stage.

Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune agreed. “Egoyan’s latest is truly, madly, deeply -un. Unbelievable. Unworthy of a main competition festival spot. And unlikely to find an audience of any sort once its leaves the festival confines.”

Peter Bradshaw of the Guardian called the film “a tangled and conceited mess,” Donald Clarke of Irish Times said it is “a bafflingly uneven picture” and Jake Coyle of The Associated Press described the movie as “a real misfire.”

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Egoyan didn’t even get much love from his hometown newspaper.

“I thought Egoyan had the germ of a good idea in the screenplay he co-wrote with David Fraser, but it’s been over-thought to the point of self-parody and pounded into submission by Mychael Danna’s bombastic score,” wrote Peter Howell of the Toronto Star.

“Egoyan and company want the commercial appeal of a genre kidnapping thriller, but they sabotage that aim by packing too many characters and incidents into a story that gets sillier by the moment. A potentially strong performance by Canadian-born Reynolds gets lost in a flurry of subplots.”

Despite the reviews, The Captive secured a U.S. distribution deal while at Cannes.

Egoyan told the Hollywood Reporter part of being a filmmaker is being able to take criticism.

“I realized … if I wanted to do this I had to have an unbelievably thick skin and I couldn’t take anything personally,” he said.

On Tuesday, Canadian actor Ryan Gosling’s directorial debut Lost River was received with “hearty boos,” according to The Hollywood Reporter, as well as “a short burst of applause.”

Reviews haven’t been published yet but Kate Muir of The Times said via Twitter the movie “a lurid mash up of Lynch, Refn and Edward Hopper. In a bad way” and Hitflix’s Gregory Ellwood tweeted “it doesn’t all work but Ryan Gosling hits for the fences and hits something gorgeous. An unexpected vision.”


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