Prisoners - From director Denis Villeneuve, Prisoners poses the question: How far would you go to protect your child? Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) is facing every parent's worst nightmare. His six-year-old daughter, Anna, is missing, together with her young friend, Joy, and as minutes turn to hours, panic sets in. The only lead is a dilapidated RV that had earlier been parked on their street. Heading the investigation, Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) arrests its driver, Alex Jones (Paul Dano), but a lack of evidence forces the only suspect's release. Knowing his child's life is at stake, the frantic Dover decides he has no choice but to take matters into his own hands. But just how far will this desperate father go to protect his family? Linked review by Alex Withrow from And So It Begins.
Mystery Road - The latest feature from Ivan Sen – who not only writes and directs, but photographs, edits and composes too (Sen’s previous film Toomelah screened in the Un Certain Regard at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival). The story follows an indigenous detective (Aaron Pedersen) who on return to his hometown finds himself the sole investigator into the death of a young girl. In this gripping, cinematic, well-acted and admirably patiently-crafted police procedural a harrowing mystery collides with national prejudice. This provocative contemporary western depicts the crime and corruption that continues to pollute small isolated towns of outback Australia.
Stranger by the Lake - Summertime in France. At a cruising spot for men, tucked away on the shores of a lake, Franck falls for Michel, but Michel has a regular lover. When Franck witnesses Michel killing his lover, he is shocked, but nonetheless his passion for this dangerous man overrides any sense of personal safety, and the two men begin an affair. Whilst waiting for Michel to arrive each day, Franck befriends Henri, an older man, who doesn't fit in with the scene. Their friendship is not based on sex, but on conversation and a shared observation of their world and situation. As Franck and Michel's liaisons continue with reckless abandonment, a policeman arrives at the lake as the body of Michel's murdered lover has been discovered.
Weekly Recommendation: A strong week. Richard Curtis' latest (About Time) will no doubt attract a healthy audience, and I am tempted to check it out. Prisoners has been an anticipated one for me since the Toronto Film Festival. Denis Villeneuve (Incendies, Polytechnique) is a fantastic director, and the core cast looks to be in fine form. Mystery Road opened the Sydney Film Festival to somewhat lukewarm reviews. I'm not sure why. It is an excellent police procedural. Beautifully shot, patiently crafted and well acted, it is a slow-burn drama but it remains compelling throughout. Stranger by the Lake is an atmospheric French thriller that is also worth watching. Some very explicit sex scenes there, though.