starring starring Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Paul Dano
screenplay by Aaron Guzikowski
directed by Denis Villeneuve
by Angelo Muredda Denis Villeneuve comes to America with Prisoners, an alternately strange and gripping but finally self-immolating crime picture that earns the right to its austere silver Warner Bros. logo before it devolves into a Scooby-Doo mystery for sadists. Last seen beckoned to the heavens by a pre-Oscar-anointed Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman plunges right back into the shit here as Keller Dover, a suburban dad and mild-mannered carpenter who goes berserk when his daughter and her friend (the child of perennially underused Viola Davis and Terrence Howard) vanish after Thanksgiving dinner. The first suspect is Alex (Paul Dano), a creepy, developmentally delayed young man who roams through the neighbourhood in his RV. Though he's arrested by crack detective Loki (nicely played by Jake Gyllenhaal, despite his character's name and distressingly shoddy police work) and released when the investigators find nothing to pin him on, Alex is promptly recaptured by a raging Dover, who turns out to have his own torture venue for this very occasion, complete with room enough for a black box whose construction will put Dover's woodworking skills to good use.