Keller and Grace Dover (Jackman and Bello) are having a pleasant Thanksgiving dinner with their best friends Nancy and Franklin Birch (Davis and Howard). Their young daughters Anna (Gerasimovich) and Joy (Simmons) ask if they can go and play the Anna’s house, just down the road. The parents instruct the girls to ask their teenage siblings to escort them but, as kids that age do, they race off on their own.
A few hours later the families realise the girls are missing and after some frantic searching, they waste no time bringing in the police. These are little girls after all. Detective Loki (Gyllenhaal) is assigned the case and as he has a 100% track record in solving crimes, hopes are high he will do the same here.
The first suspect is the exceptionally creepy Alex (Dano). At first I was skeptical about them targeting this poor kid, judging him on his appearance and demeanour alone. But then he says something and yeah….. back to the top of the suspect list for him.
The rest of the movie is a cat and mouse game with some surprising twists and turns. The overwhelming feeling is that the truth is there somewhere, just below the surface. You look and look and you think you have got it and then ZAP…..its gone. The frustration I felt must be nothing compared to what the police feel, every day all over the world, as they try to solve these mysteries. But I digress …….
The city this movie takes place in is a miserable place. Cold and rainy most of the time, lots of sleet and ice and mud and snow…… but that annoying stuff, rarely quite settling into a nice blanket of snow. The tone of the movie is similar. There are no major theatrics or drama filled scenes, just that soul crushing desperation a parent must feel when their child goes missing. Dont get me wrong, there are moments of sheer madness and desolation but mostly it is that all-encompassing sadness.
Everyone who has watched the trailer knows that one father takes matters into his own hands. It is brutal and raw and you dont blame him. Not for one second. The very different responses of each of the parents are difficult yet fascinating to watch. Keller’s savagery is the polar opposite to this wife’s almost paralysing anguish.
This is a really great movie. The phrase ‘tense thriller’ is often thrown about but in this case, it is more than warranted. It is leaning forward in your seat, holding your breath type of suspense. The actors give us subtle yet significant nuances……from Loki’s facial tic to Nancy’s self preserving emotional shutdown in the face of Keller’s brutality towards Alex.
You will keep guessing….and second guessing…..until the final frame. Trust me. Go and see this movie at once.
Love Flick xx
Director : Denis Villeneuve
Starring : Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Mario Bello, Terrence Howard, Melissa Leo, Paul Dano, Dylan Minnette, Zoe Borde, Erin Gerasimovich, Kyla Drew Simmons
Running Time : 153 minutes
Release Date : October 17