The beginning of the film follows two families, Dover and Birch, who celebrate Thanksgiving. After lunch, the two girls decide to go to the house of one of them, and since then they have lost all trace. Police see a disturbed guy who drives a camper and lives with his aunt as a potential kidnapper. The case was won by Detective Loki, who is doing his best to find the girls. However, in the opinion of desperate fathers, he does not do it very well, so they decide to take matters into their own hands and use rough methods to find their own daughters.
The very idea of kidnapping small children and their final discovery has been exploited so much that the first impression after reading the plot of the film is that there is nothing new to offer here. The very beginning of the film, which immediately introduces us to the plot, is quite effective, the further course simply draws us into this story and makes us identify with the characters as if we were watching a true story. With a duration of two and a half hours, it seems that he will have a lot of scenes with an ineffective slow pace and that he will often lose his attention, but it is simply surprising for every praise how he keeps our attention all the time.
Director Denis Villanueva gained popularity after the shooting of the excellent film Incendies, which almost missed the Oscar for the best film outside the English-speaking area in 2010. He brought the experience he gained while shooting that project into this film and enriched it even more, so that at times there is an impression that the work of a superstar from the director is less frequent. With a pretty good budget for a relative newcomer to the Hollywood world, he does a great job and puts the whole story, characters, atmosphere and events together into one effective and compact whole.
Anonymous screenwriter Aaron Guzikowski is certainly commendable for a really great screenplay that brings freshness to this genre. Apart from the main drawback of the script, a theme that has been seen many times on the movie screen, the general impression is more than good. The twists and turns are more or less expected in films like this, and more experienced viewers can easily “break through” them, but what is best about him are the superbly written characters, who were presented by top actors.
I will probably surprise you when you read that the first actor I will mention is the great Paul Dano. His character is superbly written for this type of film, while his quality of acting grows from role to role and he carefully chooses the scripts he will work with. There are, of course, Hugh Jackman, who is definitely smiling at the Oscar nomination, as well as the surprisingly good Jake Gyllenhaal in the role of Detective Loki. I will also point out Melissa Leo and the effective, but at times irritating, Terrence Howard.