By Craig Singleton (Wigan, England)
Here comes a thriller judging by the cast, could have been a chilling, intense experience… the director Atom Egoyan gave us something different. The film centers around the disappearance of a nine year old Cassandra. She was mysteriously taken from her dad’s car and not seen or heard from for eight years. Her dad, Matthew played by Ryan Reynolds is viewed as the main suspect, but he blames the police for not helping to find his missing daughter when they had a better chance of finding her.
From a first glance the film from a visual sense is comparable to 1996’s Fargo and is well shot, but it doesn’t have nowhere near the effect Fargo does for its images of crime, darkness and mystery. The blame goes on the direction/writing of Egoyan because he actually diminishes the word mystery from existence. The revelation should be delivered to the viewer towards the end of the film. This creates the most impact when they’ve built a progressed interest or emotional feeling for it. However, it is oddly given away in the opening scene. It’s a big mistake for which Egoyan’s films have become a disappoint for a lot of people. He always seems to have a good cast and intriguing plots, but doesn’t build upon that.
The cast in this film are very well established actors, however the two mains portraying Cassandra’s parents are at opposite ends for me. Ryan Reynolds was very strong as a man with a huge amount of guilt inside, blaming himself for Cass’s taking and has a lot of anger that has to come out. Oscar? Well, wouldn’t go that far. Mireille Enos was almost unbearable to watch in the dramatic moments as she over-acted which lost the grasp of emotion I wanted from her. Rosario Dawson and Scott Speedman played their parts with the best they got. There’s also an interesting turn from Kevin Durand. His character was very peculiar and different to the roles he normally plays.
My score for the film is 63%. Lowest mark for direction, highest for cinematography. It definitely isn’t a bad film, but certain mistakes really takes away from what made last year’s The Prisoners so good. Most of the acting is good, where the film is set looked great and made me jealous, but it dropped level after level in what could have been a great surprise.