Stockholm syndrome noun – feelings of trust or affection felt in many cases of kidnapping or hostage-taking by a victim towards a captor.
Ever wonder where that expression comes from? Well The Captor is a movie based on exactly the answer to that question.
In 1973, Lars Nystrom, played here by Ethan Hawke, strolls into a Norrmalmstorg bank, heavily armed and looking to make demands. The top of his list is the release of his former cellmate Gunnar Sorensson (Mark Strong). As Lars negotiates with the chief of police using the lives of his three hostages as leverage, his childish and gentle personality is revealed, weird alliances are forged, and inappropriate romance blossoms.
The object of Nystrom’s affections is Bianca Lind (Noomi Rapace). A mother and wife, Bianca steps up as the voice of the hostages, and in the process, protects Lars from making mistakes with police. As a result, their fondness for one another grows, culminating in a bond that has them thinking of each other long after the chaotic siege is over.
Directed by Robert Budreau , The Captor is a great little somewhat comedic crime thriller, that cleverly exposes and focuses on the relationships of every character involved. The obviously more famous of those between the hostages and their prison guards, between an apparent madman and the police, and the relationship of Lars to his brother in arms, who it turns out isn’t as ride-or-die as the sweet American outlaw would like to believe. Whether all these people were quite so handsome in real life, I have no idea – but it is Sweden so I’d imagine the answer is probably yes.
Complete with plastic wig and cowboy hat, Hawke leads the cast with his erratic yet inexplicably likeable tirades, his child-like panic, and hilarious tantrums. Noomi Rapace is great as Bianca, funny and strange, with big eyes for Lars – especially after a peek into her married life, her husband seeming no more panicked about her being in a bank vault with two violent criminals than he might be about her being stuck in afternoon traffic. Her quiet strength is a great contrast.
With a dreamy 70’s colour palette, and the perfect Dylan-heavy accompanying soundtrack, The Captor (known in certain territories as Stockholm) is a gem in Blumhouse’s growing crime catalogue, joining the list with BlacKkKlansman and In A Valley Of Violence, which also starred Hawke. A crime caper with well-timed humour, running the gamut from delicate and tender to vicious and violent, this story of one of the weirdest bank non-robberies in history is well worth your time. Sophie Francois
The Captor releases in UK cinemas and on Digital HD 21st June