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.
MusicThe band accidentally called Londoners the C-word
Film 'I've never been comfortable on-screen', she says
Review: One Direction, Fourmusic
Review: The World of Ice and Firebooks
Film More romcom than S&M
Review: The Imitation Gamefilm
Comedy...to show her mastectomy scars
TVNetflix gets cryptic
TV review A moving film showing kids too busy to enjoy their youth
Books Not even a Man Booker prize could save Richard Flanagan from a nomination
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 'Not suppost to cry': 9-year-old lists the worst things about being a boy
- 2 Lee Evans announces his retirement from comedy on The Jonathan Ross Show
- 3 Iggy Azalea responds to Eminem rape lyrics: 'I'm bored of old men threatening young women'
- 4 These grandmas smoking weed for the first time are wonderful
- 5 Pastafarian former porn star Asia Lemmon allowed to wear colander in driving licence photo
Lee Evans announces his retirement from comedy on The Jonathan Ross Show
Better Call Saul: Breaking Bad spin-off gets release date, logo and ominous new trailer
Iggy Azalea responds to Eminem rape lyrics: 'I'm bored of old men threatening young women'
Angelina Jolie confirms retirement from acting: 'I've never been comfortable on-screen'
Lana Del Rey rape video: Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking leaked footage
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Muslims pre-date Columbus in discovering America,' says Turkish president Erdogan
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Former Tory PM Sir John Major says 'we would not have an NHS without migrants'
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services