Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

"Authenticity is well matched by the performances"

If this hadn't been "based on a true story" you might be forgiven for assuming it to be a roughed up remake of Labor Day.

The truth may have been doctored to give an edge to the drama although its authenticity is well matched by the performances.

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Despite having been here before (many times), it feels fresh.

Veteran TV director Jerry Jameson plays fair. No tricks. No psychological babble.

What is a sociopath? Different from a psychopath? If a man kills a bunch of strangers and then takes a single mum with drug issues hostage what can you expect? The Stockholm syndrome, torture in the bathroom or cold turkey?

Cliches are irrelevant because this happened. Brian Nichols whacked a prison guard, took her gun, shot a judge and two others dead, escaped into the streets of Atlanta, stole cars, kept the cops guessing before choosing Ashley Smith's house in the 'burbs as a hideout.

Ashley has a five-year-old daughter who doesn't live there because of Mommy's drug habit which she is trying to beat with the help of AA. She's a victim of sorts, certainly damaged, but not stoned to oblivion, nor a brain blistered zombie. She may be skinny and troubled but still sexy enough to be rape bait.

The film's intensity is less to do with the manhunt and all to do with the interaction between Nichols and Smith. Their chemistry is explosive. Ashley is aware that one false move might trigger a violent response. He has been eaten up for years by a feeling of injustice.

"I've got a demon in me," he admits, which means he could blow at any moment and shoot her in the face.

Kate Mara (Rooney's sister) and David Oyelowo (English actor who played Martin Luther King) bring the film back from the brink of predictability.

This is for real. They make you believe it.

Reviewed on: 24 Sep 2015
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A drug-addicted single mum is taken hostage in her own home.
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Director: Jerry Jameson

Writer: Brian Bird, Reinhard Denke, based on the book by Ashley Smith

Starring: Kate Mara, David Oyelowo, Michael K Williams, Mimi Rogers, Leonor Varela, Jessica Oyelowo, Matt Lowe, Melissa Eastwood, E. Roger Mitchell, J. Karen Thomas, Michael Mercaldi, Michael Harding, Marlo Scheitler, Scott Parks, Sydelle Noel

Year: 2015

Runtime: 97 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: US


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