This is a wrenching plot because we don't know WHO to suspect. We share the anguish of the parents whose daughters have gone missing and the woman whose nephew is suspected of taking them. At one point I thought I had seen so many MacGuffins I could open a shop, but then, Lo and Behold, each of those little devices became big ones, so pay attention!
With a script by Aaron Guzikowski ("Contraband") and directed by Canadian Denis Villeneuve ("Incendies"), we are wrung out by the frantic action and the heartfelt misery that unfolds before our unwilling eyes. The most outstanding features are the authentic family interactions and the locations. Personally, I would have changed some of the dialogue and completely eliminated one "Gotcha" moment.
Here is the sterling cast:
- * Hugh Jackman ("Wolverine") is Keller Dover, a building contractor who lives with his wife and two children in a pleasant middle-class neighborhood. It is his frantic quest to find his daughter that is central to the plot. He says, "Pray for the best, prepare for the worst."
- * Maria Bello ("The Company Men") is Keller's wife, Grace. As one empty day follows another, she begins to lose hope.
- * Jake Gyllenhaal ("Source Code") is Detective Loki, a weary, relentless investigator who hasn't lost a case yet. The girls' parents are frustrated by his unhurried pace.
- * Viola Davis ("The Help") is Nancy Birch, mother of the second missing girl. She has to examine her own principles and humanity when confronted by the evidence.
- * Terrance Howard ("Red Tails") is her husband Franklin, Keller's unwilling collaborator.
- * Paul Dano ("Ruby Sparks") is her nephew Alex. He has the mental age of a ten year old.
- * Melissa Leo ("The Fighter") is Holly Jones, a resourceful widow who has raised her mentally impaired nephew.
Three things I should mention: 1) This takes place in a chilly, damp locale; wear a sweater. 2) This runs 153 minutes; limit your liquids. 3) This is an R-rated thriller; expect explosive action and a LOT of profanity.