You’re in for a spellbinding and emotional two and a half hours of at times unbearable and psychological tension delivered by Oscar nominees and winners that include Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Terrence Howard, Melissa Leo, Maria Bello and Paul Dano.
A script wound as tight and effective as this melodrama is long.
PRISONERS is set on a rainy afternoon in chilly Pennsylvania where two families living basically in the same neighborhood have gotten together for the traditional Thanksgiving meal.
But now they vanish without a trace.
There is a clue. The girls were seen briefly playing around an old RV parked just down the street and someone is inside.
The puzzle has just begun as detective Jake Gyllenhaal tracks down the vehicle’s occupant and tries to wring a confession of abductionout of him. To no avail. And there isn’t enough evidence to hold the mentally challenged suspect played frightenly convincing by Paul Dano.
That’s when frustrated and desperate father Hugh Jackman takes matters into his own hands by implementing a personal search and investigation of brutal proportions.
All the while with Gyllenhaal persuing leads the legal way but reverting to behind the scenes tactics to get answers.
All roads here twist their way to the film’s gut wrenching yet highly effective conclusion.
What we’ve got here is a pressure cooker taking its human toll on both the families and police.
Canadian director Denis Villeneuve guides a complex maze of madness.
It’s a first class whodunnit thriller guaranteed to keep you guessing and guessing.
And just when you think you’re got it figured out—you’re not even close.
PRISONERS scoring an intense B rating from this critic.
(Reviewed at Alamo’s Mainstreet theater)
JACK GOES TO THE MOVIES: Friday’s at 6:40 a.m. and 8:40 a.m. on KMBZ FM & AM / Also anytime on Time Warner Cable’s K.C. On Demand, Channel 411 / And Saturday mornings on WeekendKc.Net.