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Prisoners wins rave reviews from Telluride


Story by Jack Foley

HUGH Jackman-Jake Gyllenhaal child abduction thriller Prisoners has shocked and impressed critics at Colorado’s Telluride Festival.

The film, which marks the English language debut of Denis Villeneuve (of Incendies fame), follows the aftermath of the disappearance of a six year old girl and the attempts by both her father (Hugh Jackman) and the lead detective (Jake Gyllenhaal) to find her.

The only lead is a dilapidated RV that had been spotted earlier on the street but while the driver (Paul Dano) is arrested as the lead suspect, a lack of physical evidence forces the police to release him, prompting the father to take matters into his own hands.

Commenting after its first-look screening at Telluride, Variety wrote: “The wages of sin, guilt, vengeance and redemption weigh heavy on the characters of Prisoners, a spellbinding, sensationally effective thriller with a complex moral center that marks a grand-slam English-lingo debut for the gifted Quebecois director Denis Villeneuve.”

It continues: Powered by an unusually rich, twisty script by Aaron Guzikowski (Contraband) and career-best performances from Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal, this tale of two Pennsylvania families searching for their kidnapped daughters sustains an almost unbearable tension for two-and-a-half hours of screen time, satisfying as both a high-end genre exercise and a searing adult drama of the sort Hollywood almost never makes anymore.”

The review concludes that Prisoners is “fully deserving of mention in the same breath as Seven, Mystic River and In the Bedroom“.

The Hollywood Reporter, meanwhile, predicted that “viewers who see the movie will find it absolutely riveting”, adding that “this is a tribute to the filmmaker’s skill and to the excellent cast that brings the story to life”.

It goes on to say that “although the film runs two and a half hours, there doesn’t seem to be a wasted frame” before also praising the quality of the performances. Jackman, it says, delivers “what may be the most intense and satisfying performance of his career”, while Gyllenhaal “wins our sympathy for this dogged detective without in any way idealizing the character”.

It concludes: “As the plot twists multiply and tension mounts, the film reaches a climax that is satisfying without being predictable.”

Prisoners opens in UK cinemas on September 27 and is now being tipped for awards season recognition.

Watch the trailer

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