PRIS­ON­ERS

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - MOVIES - Leigh Paatsch

( MA15+) De­nis Vil­leneuve ( Hugh Jack­man, Jake Gyl­len­haal, Paul Dano, Maria Bello, Ter­rence Howard, Vi­ola Davis

Di­rec­tor: Star­ring:

THIS com­plex, un­set­tling and ut­terly ab­sorb­ing crime drama ranks as one of the best films of the year.

If you ap­pre­ci­ated the re­fined writ­ing and skilled act­ing at work in Clint East­wood’s 2003 master­piece Mys­tic River, be as­sured, the same stan­dards are met in Pris­on­ers.

The film abruptly forces us into the shoes of Keller Dover ( Hugh Jack­man) as he walks head­long into a liv­ing hell.

Keller’s seven- year- old daugh­ter has dis­ap­peared with­out a trace. So too has a neigh­bour’s lit­tle girl.

The lo­cal po­lice have vir­tu­ally no leads to fol­low, save for the sight­ing of a grubby old

ABOUT TIME ( M) camper­van seen parked nearby on the night of the sus­pected ab­duc­tion.

The driver of the ve­hi­cle, an in­tel­lec­tu­ally im­paired young man named Alex ( Paul Dano), is soon ap­pre­hended.

Dur­ing an in­tense in­ter­ro­ga­tion that fol­lows, the lead in­ves­ti­ga­tor makes a snap judg­ment that this sus­pect is in­ca­pable of com­mit­ting such a crime.

De­tec­tive Loki ( Jake Gyl­len­haal) has ex­ten­sive ex­pe­ri­ence with miss­ing- per­son cases, and a 100 per cent strike- rate in solv­ing them. Loki tells Alex he is free to go.

How­ever, to a prin­ci­pled man like Keller, this is an un­con­ceiv­able mis­take.

He is con­vinced Alex knows the where­abouts and per­haps even the fi­nal fate of the miss­ing chil­dren.

So Keller feels he is quite within his rights to aban­don all prin­ci­ple, and pro­ceeds to abduct Alex to con­duct an in­ter­ro­ga­tion of his own.

Un­til Alex agrees to con­fess to his crime, Keller will hold him cap­tive in an aban­doned house. When­ever he can­not reach Alex on a men­tal level, Keller will em­ploy phys­i­cal pow­ers of per­sua­sion.

Mean­while, Loki sticks to the meth­ods that have served him so well in the past. The faint out­lines of other sus­pects be­gin to shim­mer on the far hori­zon of a chill­ing and chal­leng­ing case.

The ef­forts of Jack­man and Gyl­len­haal in their re­spec­tive roles are par­tic­u­larly note­wor­thy

’PA­TRICK ( MA15+)

It goes with­out say­ing Pris­on­ers is a film for which view­ers must steel their nerves be­fore watch­ing.

Not only are there two fright­en­ing or­deals – the on­go­ing an­guish of the girls’ par­ents and the un­savoury ex­changes be­tween Keller and Alex duelling for our at­ten­tion.

There is also an un­bear­ably tense mys­tery ex­ert­ing an omi­nous tidal pull of its own upon the au­di­ence.

So what can Pris­on­ers of­fer to drag us from the depths of to­tal de­spair?

The ef­forts of Jack­man and Gyl­len­haal in their re­spec­tive roles are par­tic­u­larly note­wor­thy.

Jack­man goes with the force­ful flow de­manded of him and de­liv­ers a clear ca­reer- best per­for­mance.

Gyl­len­haal, who rep­re­sents what stands for rea­son in a sit­u­a­tion where rea­son barely ap­plies, makes just as telling a con­tri­bu­tion.

SHOW­STOP­PER: Hugh Jack­man de­liv­ers a ca­reer- best per­for­mance as Keller Dover in Pris­on­ers.

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