mon 21/10/2019

DVD: Captured | reviews, news & interviews

DVD: Captured

DVD: Captured

Previously classified film intended to train British troops in resisting interrogation is a powerful POW drama like no other

Alan Dobie in 'Captured': steely, calm and controlled, despite the abuse he suffers

While it’s impossible to know the effect of Captured on the few who originally saw it, you can be damn sure it packed a punch. It still does. This unforgettable film was made in 1959 for the Army Kinema Corporation to train personnel in resisting interrogation. Classified as “restricted”, it was seen only by a relevant and limited forces audience. Instead of making a dry, instructional film, director John Krish fashioned a drama with clearly defined characters and a slow-burn intensity which climaxes disturbingly.

Captured DVDIts first-time release on DVD comes in the wake of Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty. That attracted criticism for its depiction of torture, yet Captured shows waterboarding, something barely known before the War on Terror. Drawing from the accounts of members of British forces who had been imprisoned in Korea, Captured shows that what's considered repugnant today in the hands of Western forces was borrowed from their Asian opponents in the 1950s – a trajectory discussed compellingly in the accompanying booklet. Most pertinently for now, with North Korea currently in a sabre rattling mood, the setting is discomfiting.

Captured is certainly resonant, but it’s also an amazing, assured film with – although it is through-and-through British – a hard-boiled American edge. As a lead, Alan Dobie – comparable with Jack Hawkins at his best or even John Mills – is steely, calm and controlled, despite the physical and mental abuse he suffers. Watch out for Wilfred Brambell. The Korean contingent is played by non-actors Krish found in London's Chinese community, and they are all too convincing. The picture restoration is superb.

This shocking film is accompanied by a raft of extras including a fascinating interview with Krish, who discusses his whole career. His flair is revealed by having worked for the Children’s Film Foundation almost concurrent with making Captured. Of his other films seen here, H.M.P. is a sober, yet surprisingly warm-toned, verité-style documentary following newly recruited officers as they explore what it takes to work in prison. Overall, this is a fabulous package but on its own, Captured would have been enough.

Visit Kieron Tyler’s blog

Watch the trailer for Captured

With North Korea currently in a sabre rattling mood, the setting of 'Captured' is discomfiting

rating

Editor Rating: 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Share this article

Add comment

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters

Advertising feature

★★★★★

A compulsive, involving, emotionally stirring evening – theatre’s answer to a page-turner.
The Observer, Kate Kellaway

 

Direct from a sold-out season at Kiln Theatre the five star, hit play, The Son, is now playing at the Duke of York’s Theatre for a strictly limited season.

 

★★★★★

This final part of Florian Zeller’s trilogy is the most powerful of all.
The Times, Ann Treneman

 

Written by the internationally acclaimed Florian Zeller (The Father, The Mother), lauded by The Guardian as ‘the most exciting playwright of our time’, The Son is directed by the award-winning Michael Longhurst.

 

Book by 30 September and get tickets from £15*
with no booking fee.