“I’m a sports nut,” explained Hugh Jackman, joyful that his son decided to join the school soccer team. The actor and song man was making his way around The Monkey Bar at a luncheon celebrating his new movie Prisoners on Thursday. He might just as well have been talking about the thriller’s opening scene, when he, as Keller Dover, praises his fictive son for killing a deer. The falling animal may prefigure deaths to come, or provide the occasion for a proud parent before Keller loses it when the unthinkable happens. His daughter is taken and he, albeit a good man, holds the alleged abductor Alex (Paul Dano) prisoner, torturing him. His wife Grace, played by Maria Bello, loses it too, withdrawing into a drug induced fetal pose. Bello said the film’s nightmare premise expressed the characters’ “shadow side.”
With this absorbing film, one of the season’s best thus far, the Montreal based Denis Villeneuve demonstrates he has a keen eye for the ethos of regional Americans, and an acute sense of the terrifying nature of dark cellars and holes in moist soil, with no visual means of escape.