My heart is pounding fast. During TIFF one movie stopped me solid in my tracks. I had read the press releases and attended the press conference. Another film reviewer, and close friend of mine, went to the screening. She texted me at midnight and she couldn’t sleep. This is the kind of movie that brings you to all emotional states and hits you hard. Why?
The film makes you question… just how far would you go to protect your family? And what if you felt as though the authorities have let you down?
Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) faces every parent’s worst nightmare. His six year old daughter, Anna, is missing with her young friend, Joy, and as minutes turn to hours, panic sets in. The only lead is a dilapidated RV that had earlier been parked on their street. Heading the investigation, Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) arrests its driver, Alex Jones (Paul Dano), but lack of evidence forces his release.
As the police pursue multiple leads and pressure mounts, knowing his child’s life is at stake and the frantic Dover decides he has no choice but to take matters into his own hands. How far will he go?
At the press conference, actor Hugh Jackman said the story was so intense that none of them really wanted to leave the set each day. “As actors, we really wanted to dive into our characters,” said Jackman.
“Sometimes when you see something like this happen, you don’t quite know how to respond, is very visceral,” says Gyllenhaal.
Gyllenhaal explains that there were different interpretations of his character, Detective Loki. “My thought was, and what I love about my character, who was the centre of the narrative of the story, was that with every twist and turn that the movie takes there’s a discovery and you’re right there. Denis and I talked about how my character would play against the tide. The audience will look for clues immediately and know as soon as they walk in that someone has got to have done this. I just like the idea of question marks thrown all over. The question marks couldn’t be random they had to be based on a real backstory. We worked very hard on that. When you first meet this character, you wonder if there’s something that he’s ashamed of and at first he may be ashamed of possibly being involved with what happened but I think what he’s really ashamed of is his past and his connection to all the characters.”
Maria Bello plays the mother of the missing child and spoke about her raw emotions. “My character Grace, and as a mother myself of a 12 year old , it was the only choice for me to make…to fall on my knees in grief,” said Bello. ” I just can’t imagine any parent going through that. I have such compassion for them. But as an actor, I think all of the things that happen in our lives that are not so good like the pain, the shame, that is scattered around the table like garbage. As an artist, I wanted to take that scope and make it so beautiful to give to the world. So, when I can take that grief that is deep inside me and can use it to give to you, that gift, so you don’t have to feel it, or maybe it’s something that you haven’t felt before, then that’s my gift.”
PRISONERS directed by Denis Villeneuve is now playing in theatres. Go see it and then come back and tell me, how far would you go?
Here’s the official trailer…