It's Thanksgiving and the Dover family have headed to the their neighbours, the Birch's, for dinner. As the families are kicking back and enjoying themselves, their two daughters, Joy and Anna decide to head back to the other house to pick up a red whistle. And then they disappear. And so begins Prisoners, an un-nerving psychological thriller that is every parents worst nightmare.
Once the girls have been reported missing, in steps Detective Loki, played by Jake Gyllenhaal. With a cool, calm demeanour he begins the hunt for the number one suspect. That, as it turns out, is a man called Alex Jones. Seen earlier in the day driving a beat-up camper van, he becomes the most likely man to have kidnapped the children. The problem with Alex is that he has the mental capacity of a 10-year old.
With little or no information to go on, the police must let him go. But Kelly Dover, played by Hugh Jackman, is utterly convinced he knows where the girls are. He sets in motion a plan to make Alex talk and as the days pass and his frustration and grief grow, so too does his willingness to do whatever it takes to get his daughter back.
In the mean time, the thoroughly switched on Detective Loki is pursuing all avenues of inquiry. He even stumbles across evidence of a similar crime that took place 26 years earlier. But time is running out and the desperation is palpable. Who kidnapped the girls? Are they still alive? Will they ever be found?
Prisoners is an incredible thriller. It evokes a permanent sense of dread that makes for both absorbing and disturbing viewing. It is edge of the seat stuff and although it runs at more than two and a half hours, none of that time is wasted.
The cast performances are electric and Hugh Jackman is utterly relatable as a man on the edge. Paul Dano is outstanding as the challenged Alex Jones. The supporting cast of Viola Davis, Terrence Howard, and Maria Bello round off the movie with engaging roles of sympathetic parents who are willing to overlook even the most disturbing actions if it means finding their children.
And if you can't get enough of Hugh Jackman, check him out in Chappie – review here!