Prisoners

dir. Denis Villeneuve

Hugh Jackman and Terrence Howard are vigilante fathers fighting for justice in this damp, dull and silly thriller.

In this rain-drenched small town that seems to have a deranged individual twitching behind every curtain, there are a seemingly endless number of torture chambers.

Riddled with stupidity, inconsistency, alarming coincidence and a gun-toting granny, it corkscrews a path through plot-holes into a pit of preposterousness.

Survivalist carpenter Keller Dover (Jackman) and his neighbour Franklin Birch (Howard) are relaxing after sharing Thanksgiving dinner with their families.

Jackman pairs a ragged beard with a knitted frown and acts with a fist waving intensity while Howard gawps along with the audience.

As Dover’s wife Maria Bello has little to do but stagger in a pill-popping daze and Viola Davis as Mrs Birch is given less than that.

Their two young daughters fail to return home from playing outside and a desperate search begins for them.

As every cop in the state are brought in to hunt for the girls, Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) is assigned to lead the investigation and is known for never failing to solve a case.

Gyllenhaal is impressive as the tattooed and slick-haired cop, offering with wry humour the merest specks of light in the gathering gloom.

Keller tracks down the suspected killer himself, beating up the suspectAlex Jones (Paul Dano) and pleading with Franklin to interrogate him.

Brilliant British cinematographer Roger Deakins creates an air of bitter chill that emphasises the bleakness of tone but his talent is squandered on this material.

★★☆☆☆

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