Postby CAP » Wed Oct 23, 2013 12:50 pm

Dreary thriller about child abduction in small town somewhere in Pennsylvania in winter – I don’t know why I bothered. Give it 2. On a rainy Wednesday afternoon, slumped in an empty cinema on an RDO, feeling like shit, this is what you end up with. What was I expecting? Apart from killing time, I suppose I feebly hoped there might be some ingenious synchronicity between the movie’s run and the re-investigation of the Madeleine McCann abduction, now a chilling six years old or cold. Maybe I could find some insight into the topic, a bit like the Brooklyn Rail review of the final episode of Breaking Bad coinciding with the Congressional stalemate over a supply bill? That didn't happen. I just sat there, let the thing wash over me and got dirtier.

Child abductors are just psychos, there is no finer logic to their actions. Call them evil, call them sick, you just don’t get any closer to these people trying to pretend it was business or pleasure on some level. There are no levels out there. They’re off the map, gone. These sentiments are expressed in the movie, by the father of one of the victims, a carpenter named Keller Dover, well played by Hugh ‘Wolverine!’ Jackman. It's hard to believe Hugh began his career singing the lead in Oklahoma all those years ago, isn't it?... :shock: Anyway the movie is all over the place, rambling, slow and disjointed, a bit like me. The movie was ‘directed’ by Canuck Denis Villeneuve. Actually the story could be set in Canada, the dark winter forests, the slush of light snow, the prim little commuter housing tracts and derelict corners of the town share a certain geography. The locations are about the best thing in the movie. Denis has an eye, unfortunately not much more. The locations reminded me of those early Doig paintings –that same bleakness.

The biggest problem I had was with the casting of Jake Gyllenhaal as Detective Loki. Not for one moment could I believe he was some hotshot police investigator. He just doesn’t look the part, doesn’t act the part. He lacks edge, lacks depth. He doesn’t even seem to handle the physical stuff that well, like scaling fences and chasing suspects. He looked more like a moody male model, and a slightly podgy one at that. I’m not saying he can’t act, but I think he was fatally miscast trying to play a hardboiled, loner sleuth. He looks terribly nice but a bit dim – and that’s OK for juvenile leads or homo cowpokes - but the trouble is there are plenty of Hollywood actors around that can do the tough cop in their sleep. It would have been so much better with a Ryan Gosling or Bradley Cooper, for instance. There is supposed to be this kind of symmetry between Loki and Dover – one calm and methodical, the other furious and impulsive, and then as the story progresses (at glacial pace) they draw closer together. The trouble is Jackman is so much better, handles the transition so much more convincingly, while Gyllenhaal just seems to grow more petulant and panicky. He certainly needs to grow something.

Then there’s the story slowly spiralling into incredulity as the suspect’s supposed aunt turns out to be a fiendish mastermind with an elaborate agenda while an equally elaborate false lead is refuted just in time…. ZZZZZZZZZ. Yes the two little girls will be found alive! Alive a live-ho! Alive a live-ho! I found my mind wandering about this point. Was Sharon Van Etten too much of a whinger? Could I be happy with someone like that? Probably not. And she’d just put it all in songs as well – ‘That Asshole CAP’ – would probably go top ten. I would acquire a certain notoriety, of course, perhaps not unbecoming... Then again… Nah, Sharon is definitely not the one. Anyway back in the movie the suspect’s supposed aunt shoots Dover in the leg and forces him into a deep pit she has somehow had specially prepared in her back yard, concealed by a badly rusted ancient Chevy Camaro that miraculously starts on only the second turnover . Yeah right. And in the total darkness he somehow finds a toy whistle or something on the floor of the pit that proves his daughter was there at some point. Yeah right.

I walked out after that, ready to face a grey and drizzling future. Besides, I had a PV to go to. That would be fun, for about ten minutes. :mrgreen:
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