Review: 6.8 out of 10 stars.
There are usually 2 major reasons why a movie is long and this one is 2 hours and 26 mins! One is that if you pay for a movie, even if it’s not good, with much less editing out of the film, at least you would feel your money’s worth (but not the time.) Second reason is simply the movie is not that great and by having more subplots or unnecessary story lines, it works to confuse the audience and builds as “complex”, as many critics claimed this movie to be.
Sadly, nowadays many movies are at least almost 2 hours long.
The storyline is simple, 2 kids were kidnapped at plain sight and while there’s an obvious suspect, the cops were unable to find the kids nor had any evidence that the suspect has done it. Hugh Jackman’s character, the father of one of the kids, decided to take it in his own hands and attempted to do his own detective work.
The movie has too much
noise to make it successful and intact. With solid performance by Jackman as a dedicated father, and an okay Gyllenhaal being a cop who always found all the kidnapped kids, they tried hard to savage the movie.
There are constantly new things coming up in the movie, but about half of them can be edited out or consolidated into other plot lines. A lot of extra characters were added in length just to deliver 1 subplot.
There’s no breakthrough of the movie and can be considered a classic plot without special spin. Some of the writers’ prolonged tactics and writing were simply a reaction drawing tactic and served no purpose to the movie plot.
There were a few times when Gyllenhaal read through the microfiche about old news, and the director decided to clip a full paragraph of an article and expected the audience to read through in its entirety. That’s a major flaw. When filming something of a clip, the director should zoom in to show no more than 2 lines or 8 words. There’s quickly panic on what to read and how much time to read it on the big screen. A movie is about not having to think, not reading comprehension.
Another unrelated characteristic of Jake’s role who blinked hard was unexplainable. And what’s the significance of constantly showing his tattoos, especially those on his hands? Nope, no significance.
Paul Dano being the prime suspect who looked weak and being tortured were excellent. He looked extremely creepy yet did not seem to be capable of the kidnappings. His whining and the angles showing his gestures were excellent.
Tons of spoilers ahead.
Keywords: crime, religion, kidnapping, thriller
— Spoiler ahead —
Who’s the real prisoner? Apparently not just the 2 kids, but the nephew Dano, his aunt, and the parents.
The movie could easily be more engaging by cutting out all the unnecessary plots– the priest killing the aunt’s husband was too much in development just to link this priest as the original killer who killed the husband and had become an alcoholic, but without real motives. Also, there’s too much torturing time for the suspect by Hugh Jackman. The movie took up like 20% to 25% time to show different tortures.
Noise such as Jake’s role suspecting of Jackman’s, while reasonable in real life, does not really serve any purpose to this movie.
The movie tried to make it religion fighting and animal killing but never really touched on it other than a few lines about it. The ultimate reason how the aunt said about the parents brainwashed the kids was not believable and there’s not enough time on developing the reason. This makes the movie more about hunting and torturing than trying to find the motive of the kidnappings.
The priest’s alcohol addiction was unrelated and they could just suspect him or find another way to discover the aunt’s husband’s body in his basement.
Extra showing on Jackman’s military style basement, military style torturing skills, his coaching on the kids about survival skills that were on the verge of being paranoid, have no added value to the movie or any reason.
If the cop had that much speculation of the nephew but not enough funding of the police to follow up (a very weak excuse), they would have realized he had vanished if they followed him. The aunt never quite expressed any worry about the nephew, who had an IQ of a kid, is another major plot hole, as she was very caring for him at the police station.
The extra suspense when Jake’s character spent all that time driving after being shot but continued to drive the dying girl to the ER was stupid suspense to keep the audience engaged but simply leads to a Hollywood ending.
This is the same as the whistling towards to the end. They spent so much time for such cheap suspense that made the audience feel on the edge, only to prolong the ending.
The snake scenes were unnecessary but a scare tactic to the audience. The suspense of the black boxes was enough.
Paul Dano’s snatching dog scene was definitely on the animal cruelty watch and there was no mention in the credits that no animals were harmed during the filming.
And why did the aunt look like Mrs. Doubtfire?!
How did they come up the character’s name Alex Jones, because AJ does have a lot of political conspiracy theories?