Captive State pulsates along at a feverish pace. An alien invasion film with a distinct visual aesthetic, more film noir than sci-fi. Less A Quiet Place, more Children of Men.
The credit sequence explains in clinical detail how it all went down. Invaders (roaches) forced the surrender of all governments, they're referred to as the "legislators," and in return for earth's resources they will allow life to go on with a sparse resemblance to the way things were before. Some view them as saviors, others are resisting. The story shifts between the collaborators and the resistance.
Set in Chicago, an occupied city, the look and feel calls back The Third Man. Gabriel (Ashton Sanders) is a young man who's part of a network in the resistance that includes people from a variety of backgrounds - teachers, artists, doctors, and former military. John Goodman is a detective working with the collaborators who do so with the hope they will be chosen to leave earth for another planet (must've missed "To Serve Man").
A plot twist occurs every few minutes. Set to a retro synth score that's used to great effect during an edge of your seat sequence at Soldier Field. Rupert Wyatt's direction feels like a gritty cinema verite documentary. The 1983 mini-series V even comes to mind since both are similar in concept and serve as powerful allegories.
Captive State also feels timely. The "roaches" themselves rarely appear, but when they do they're creepy. What's more disturbing is how submissive people are to them, illustrated by a cringe inducing national anthem sequence that hits a little too close to home.
Thankfully, the ending is free of a deux ex machina. Captive State is the rare movie you're ready to rewind and watch all over again.