Directred by: Robert Budreau

Starring: Ethan Hawke, Noomi Rapace, Mark Strong, Christopher Heyerdahl, Bea Santos, Mark Rendall

Stockholm, 1973 - a man storms into a bank and pulls out a machine gun, taking hostages and demanding the release of another bank-robber, Gunnar Sorensson. As the police and media lay siege to the building outside, the robbers find themselves with unlikely allies - their hostages…

Based on the true story which marked the occasion the term "Stockholm Syndrome" was first coined, The Captor has the kind of plot which, if but for the fact it is true, would be a farcical fantasy.

A man calling himself Kaj Hansson, posing as an American, storms into a bank, firing a machine gun and takes two cashiers as hostages - the start of many a bank heist movie, to be sure. However the film has this weird, blackly comic streak of Scandinavian humour throughout. The money is a secondary concern for Kaj - he's more interested in seeing Gunnar released. In the meantime the police manage to be both panicked and laid back at the same time.


 Noomi Rapace plays Bianca Lind, one of the two cashiers held hostage (the other is Klara Mardh, played by Bea Santos). She realises early on that the police are just as likely to get her killed as the robbers are. The police bring her husband into the bank at one point, to try and draw sympathy. Instead Bianca sends him packing with lots of instructions on how to cook their kids' dinner.

 The term Stockholm Syndrome was coined from this real incident but the film makes clear that the hostages weren't hypnotised or anything daft like that - its just they realised  that trusting the cops was likely to get one of them killed. Any hostage might feel the same in similar circumstances. There is  a great scene where Bianca ends up on the phone with the prime minister, and its not that she's siding with the robbers, she's looking out for herself and her colleagues - something the authorities seem to have overlooked.


 The cast is spot on here. Ethan Hawke Is all twitchy energy while Mark Strong brings his usual calm demeanor. Noomi Rapace plays Bianca as quite timid but proves to have a steely resolve under her mousy exterior. Christopher Heyerdahl also needs mentioning as the chief of police, who sometimes comes across like a Swedish Basil Fawlty.



The Captor is a very solid entertaining film about a real life event. The cast is great, the production values take you right back to the 1970's. There are some farcical moments that will make you wonder what liberties have been taken with the truth but you will still be wondering how on earth its all going to end.

7 out of 10 (MikeOutWest)