|Gyllenhaal and Jackman give excellent performances.
Directed by Denis Villeneuve
Produced by Kira Davis, Broderick Johnson, Adam Kolbrenner and Andrew A. Kosove
Written by Aaron Guzikowski
Starring Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard, Melissa Leo and Paul Dano
If you've seen the trailer for Villeneuve's new thriller, you know all you need to going into this gripping piece of suspense. It reveals a basic story of the Dover and Birch families and the disappearance of their young daughters. Detective Loki (Gyllenhaal) is determined to solve the mystery, but the clues lead to a potentially innocent suspect (Dano). Convinced that the suspect knows the whereabouts of the girls, Keller Dover (Jackman) takes the investigation into his own hands, which complicates the already confounding case. As more revelations emerge, both the detective and the father try to find the girls before time runs out.
With the makings of a standard nail-biter, this impressive production features a number of satisfying twists and turns and an ending that is still preying on my mind. Frankly, there is not much I don't love about the film. The tight direction of a razor-sharp screenplay is only improved by the impeccable performances of this fantastic cast. Gyllenhaal and Jackman deliver some of their best work, and the entire supporting cast (from Dano to Leo to Davis to Howard to Bello) are worthy of mention. If that's not enough, Roger Deakins' cold palette complements the brooding score, intricate sound design and precise editing. The film runs around two and a half hours, yet it's surprisingly lean, as nothing feels unnecessary. It's a small, quiet tour-de-force from all involved, and it's one of the best films of the year.
Oscar Potential: Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing (I honestly don't see it being recognized, but there's a slight chance it could get the odd nod or two.)