TIFF 2013 Review: Prisoners
Montreal filmmaker Denis Villeneuve, a man who always seems to be smiling, joking, and having fun, directs a star-studded cast in this very heavy and emotionally engaging crime drama. To be widely released in just a few weeks, Prisoners challenges its actors as well as its viewers, when two young girls are abducted on Thanksgiving Day in their Pennsylvanian suburb.
The two couples are close friends, with daughters of the same age, but they react differently to the event –as does the determined cop assigned to the case (Jake Gyllenhaal). While Grace (Maria Bello) is too stricken with despair to do anything but sleep, her husband Keller, a brooding, bearded survivalist (Hugh Jackman) slowly goes mad, drinking more than sleeping.
He becomes sure that a mentally-challenged young man (Paul Dano), at the scene of the crime, is responsible; the police fail to find any evidence. Rain and snow fall as hours and days slowly tick by in this very dreary town, and it seems that at any time something shocking or revelatory can happen – and it does.
Villeneuve explores institutionalism versus individualism, as Keller follows his own course, a path that pits him up against Detective Loki and due process. Not simply visually dark, Keller’s vigilantism borders on grotesque as a man out of control; Jackman is at times terrifying.
This tension-filled, impressively-executed lengthy mystery is potent and staggering, waiting as long as possible before letting the audience know what is happening, teasing and provoking all the way.
Friday September 13 – Visa Screening Room (Elgin) – 2:30 PM