Jackman stars in 'spellbinding' kidnapping thriller Prisoners
Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal hunt a child snatcher in tense thriller for post-Iraq America
What you need to know
American kidnap thriller Prisoners opens in UK cinemas this week. Oscar-nominated French-Canadian Denis Villeneuve (Incendies) directs a cast led by Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal with a script by Aaron Guzikowski (Contraband).
Jackman stars as Keller Dover, a religious man whose six-year-old daughter and her friend go missing. Detective Loki (Gyllenhaal) arrests a suspect but is forced to release him due to lack of evidence. Frustrated Dover takes matters into his own, increasingly violent, hands after kidnapping the suspect himself, while Loki continues his investigation. With Maria Bello and Paul Dano.
What the critics like
Prisoners is "a spellbinding, sensationally effective thriller with a complex moral centre", says Scott Foundas in Variety. A "grand-slam English-lingo debut" for gifted Quebecois director Villeneuve, it sustains an almost unbearable tension on screen, and satisfies as both a high-end genre exercise and a searing adult drama of the sort Hollywood almost never makes anymore.
Movies get a lot of mileage out of missing-children tales, but "few handle it with the skill of director Denis Villeneuve and his terrific cast" led by Jackman and Gyllenhaal, says Jocelyn Noveck for Associated Press. Prisoners is a suspense thriller that will stay with you long after the credits roll.
Prisoners is a smartly structured, "greyly atmospheric thriller with something to say about War-On-Terror America", says Dan Jolin in Empire. Dover represents the America that invaded Iraq, believing his grief-fuelled quest for justice places him beyond morality and the law.
What they don't like
There's a good thriller in there somewhere, says Richard Corliss in Time. But Prisoners is the sort of film that prods the viewer "to dream of storming the editing room and trying to carve an excellent thriller out of a meandering rough cut". ·