La Capture (2007) • France

La Capture (2007) Movie PosterThis semi-arty little semi-revenge flick from France features a refreshing performance from Catherine de Léan as Rose, a young woman who wants more than payback for the abuse she witnessed and suffered as a child at the hands of her father. She wants her father to understand that his legacy, and the continued abuse of her mother and younger brother, is wrong. So with the help of a couple friends she captures him, gives him a great big grown-up time out and ties him to a radiator in an empty rehearsal studio and attempts to enlighten him.

La Capture also features some nicely nuanced direction from veteran French actress Carole Laure who also wrote the screenplay. Employing not so much a vignette technique as a chaptered one, scenes fade in and fade out the way someone might illustrate a process using bullet points. Sometimes details are left out or unresolved but that only serves to underscore their unimportance in the telling of this story. For example, a scene of Rose doing a poetic reading to her father of man as social animal philosophy is followed a little later by a scene where several animals populate the rehearsal studio and do nothing more than look upon this man tied to a chair. It's a powerful and interesting scene without explanation of how the animals may have come or gone, but it's not that far-fetched a scenario given the portrait Laure has painted of Rose as a seemingly well-adapted, well-liked, sexually happy and satisfied young woman whose life is grounded in practicing that new-age acting technique where people pretend to be animals.

Catherine de Léan has a tough, natural beauty well suited, for the most part, to the role of skirt and boot wearing Rose. Part of the story arc involves changes to her character that occur after she becomes the one in power exerting control. I wasn't as convinced by her portrayal of the gun wielding crazy sister who rescues her brother from drug dealers, but that may be due to the overall inferior telling of that part of the story. Her brother hasn't fared as well in life, hasn't yet "gotten away" and serves as a more typical case juxtaposition to Rose. Director Laure uses a few provocative, though not too explicit sex scenes showing Rose as more atypical from many victims of abuse. Sexually fulfilled is a necessary ingredient in a happy life, right? There's only an implicit case made for the power of new age consciousness in Rose's well adjusted living.

La Capture does a better job showing us than telling us, but that's not a criticism. This is an engaging film to watch and I think the director set out to make it that way and succeeded. I was in the mood for French and La Capture delivered a well crafted, smartly done package. Nice to see Pascale Bussières as la mère (the mother). It's not a big role, and her character is medicated and abused to the point of numbness—a woman who "floats, barely there ... invisible by choice", but just having her around adds to the film's rep.

And the ending is magnificent!



  1. This seems to be an interesting movie. Nice review!

  2. I practically watched this a second time while reviewing it. Holds up. Catherine de Léan is wonderful (and a lot more active than the clip I put together shows). Still not too wild about the brother storyline, but ...
    If you like French, it's french.

  3. I like French, and this interests me for other reasons as well. Nice writing, interesting review.