I saw this film last night in unusual circumstances: I had never heard of it and knew nothing about it. Somebody – I won’t say who – mentioned Liam Neeson was in it. And a high score in IMDB was mentioned, but that was it.
Minutes after the film started, I was sucked in and that was indeed that.
I never saw Liam Neeson, though.
Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) is one of the two fathers whose daughters go missing during a Thanksgiving Day lunch. Despite an extensive hunt, there is no trace. But he remembers a strange RV parked in the neighborhood, reports this, and soon the police – led by Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) – find the vehicle and take the driver into custody.
The driver – a man apparently with the mind of a 10 year old child – denies any knowledge of the girls, and there is no forensic evidence. But Dover is not persuaded, and when the driver is released due to lack of evidence, Dover wants to make his own move to get to the bottom of the mystery and find his daughter.
This is a complex, layered film, built around the hunt and investigation, but centred on complex characters and shades of rights and wrongs. As the publicity material mentions, just how far would you go to find your missing daughter?
The script is tight, the acting superb, and despite its length there is nary a dull moment. It’s the type of film I would go back immediately to see again, confident I missed so much on the first viewing.
I mentioned the quality of the acting; while the stars deliver, Paul Dano – who plays the role of the suspect driver – is terrific.
In short, a fine, bleakly themed and important movie; it entertains while posing difficult questions. It simultaneously celebrates the potential of noble human endeavor and highlights the depths of evil.
Go. See. This. Film.