A convoy of Russian soldiers finds itself trapped in the mountainous Chechen landscape, lost in unfamiliar hostile territory. All around them explosions and gunfire from the unseen enemy shatter the stifling air. The commander of the garrison sends out the seasoned Rubakhin and the young rifleman Vovka to take captive a local who knows the mountain trails and could lead the men to safety. After a brief exchange of fire, the two men seize a young wounded Chechen who, although he doesn’t speak Russian, seems to have understood his task. On this scorching summer’s day, the incongruous threesome have to make their way through the difficult terrain, forcing all of them to show mutual consideration and willingness. However, the proximity of the Chechen settlements soon destroys the intimacy that has developed between the men, and the captive has to pay a terrible price for his role as their passport to safety. His captors will not escape from the incident unscathed, either…
Captive illustrates the absurdity of a single day in a horrific and senseless war – a war being fought without anyone understanding its original causes and motivation.