Film review: 'Prisoners' harrowing scenes will make you wince
Denis Villeneuve, 153mins. Starring: Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal
A feeling of dread leaks through this grim thriller about child abduction. The Québécois director Denis Villeneuve demonstrated a nerve for handling dark material in his Oscar-nominated Incendies (2010), but nothing quite prepares you for this.
In a grey, rain-lashed suburb of Pennsylvania two a pair of families are celebrating Thanksgiving when it becomes apparent that their two young daughters are missing; a frantic search ensues, and suspicion falls on a mentally enfeebled man (Paul Dano) whose RV was spotted in the area.
The investigating detective, Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal), hauls him in but has no evidence on which to hold him. The father of one of the girls, a huntsman named Dover (Hugh Jackman), fights despair by turning judge, jury and possible executioner; he kidnaps and tortures the RV man, with the tacit collusion of the other parents (Terrence Howard and Viola Davis).
These scenes are harrowing enough to make you wince, though one suspects that Jackman's self-righteous vigilante act would win high approval among American audiences.
The anguished mood recalls something of the kidnap thriller Mystic River, balanced against the procedural tensions of Zodiac, in which Gyllenhaal also starred. A denouement ripped hot from the headlines will stay with you long after.
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
- 2 Perez Hilton apologises for Jennifer Lawrence nude photo leak
- 3 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 4 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
- 5 Isis terror threat: Leading British Muslims issue fatwa condemning terror group
Unseen Charlie and the Chocolate Factory chapter deemed 'too subversive' released
Strictly Come Dancing 2014: Gregg Wallace joins Mark Wright, Pixie Lott and Judy Murray in line-up
Doctor Who, Into the Dalek, TV review: Classic sci-fi adventure has blockbuster spectacle
Nicki Minaj suffers wardrobe malfunction during MTV VMAs performance with Ariana Grande and Jessie J
Al Pacino's The Humbling and Manglehorn, film reviews
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward