Before the Trailer, We Thought: Quebec filmmaker Denis Villeneuve came to substantial acclaim and recognition with his 2010 film “Incendies,” about a pair of Canadian twins who work to uncover the secrets behind their recently deceased mother’s experiences in a Middle Eastern country’s civil war, which garnered an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. “Prisoners” marks his first feature film to be released since “Incendies” (although another project is currently in post-production), and it is a definite change of pace as this sees him tackling an American production for the first time, not to mention one with a cast of this star power. Which brings us to Hugh Jackman.
We’ve gotten used to seeing him in roles that one would characterize as being larger than life, whether he’s sporting claws and battling mutants as Marvel superhero Wolverine in the “X-Men” and “Wolverine” spinoff franchises, or showing off his vibrato by belting out show tunes near the French barricades in last year’s “Les Miserables.” After a plethora of high-profile Hollywood projects, how would Jackman fare upon returning to something less maximal and more pared back?
And now? Color us intrigued. Despite the change in language and country, Villeneuve seems to have not lost any of the intensity that marked his earlier work, with Jackman playing a Boston dad whose daughter and her young friend have gone missing. Fed up with the ineffectiveness of the police, he eventually takes matters into his own hands by kidnapping the suspect behind the girls’ disappearance.
It’s grim stuff, and seems to be without any sort of lightness or comic relief, which should make it something of a challenge for audiences who aren’t too keen on shelling out money to see such decidedly downbeat subject matter. But boy, what a cast they have assembled – in addition to Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal is a detective on the case, with Terrence Howard and Viola Davis playing the parents of the other kidnapped girl and Paul Dano rounding out the cast as the main suspect.
“Prisoners” is set to be released on September 20 by Warner Bros.