The Prisoners

Rated NR 2013

Quebecois darling Denis Villeneuve (Maelstrom, Incendies) makes a huge leap into mainstream American film with Prisoners, a procedural drama in the vein of Gone Baby Gone and Zodiac starring Hugh Jackman as a dad searching for his kidnapped daughter and Jake Gyllenhaal as the detective assigned to the case. Jackman thinks it was Paul Dano's Alex, a mentally impaired weirdo with an RV, who has the kids (Viola Davis and Terrence Howard are the parents of the other girl) and so he abducts and tortures him in a series of unsettling scenes. While the marketing touts the huge, award-garnering ensemble cast---Melissa Leo and a severely underused Maria Bello are also here---it's really an excuse for Jackman to do some capital-A acting. At 2:40 it's way too long, but Villeneuve's grey palette and steady gaze demonstrates a talent that translates. —Tara Thorne

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