Giving you that  urgency just from the title alone, Prisoners throws you just that and a whole lot more. The edge of your seat dark and twisted drama tells us a story about how far will you go to save and protect your loved ones. Those are the questions raised in Villeneuve’s fifth movie, a threatening and emotionally bruising examination of trauma, loss, sin and capture.

On a cold and wet Thanksgiving evening in the suburbs of Pennsylvania, Keller Dover ( Hugh Jackman), a loving father, hunter and all around prepared individual , and his wife (Maria Bello) have the Birches (Viola Davis, Terrence Howard) over for their yearly turkey dinner. Laughs and good times are assumed, but in the blink of an eye, their evening goes unexpectedly wrong. The couple’s children, who went off to play next door, are gone and nowhere to be found.

As the families search the neighborhood, concerns start to grow and the family starts to feel alarmed.   They tremble into panic and then it enters into all-out terror and fear. One small clue comes to mind, a beat up RV seen near the scene of the could or would be abduction, shows true.  A loner determined cop who has nothing but his job, Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) arrives on the scene where he finds a panicked suspect who tries, unsuccessfully, to flee. The suspect is Alex Frost (Paul Dano), a mentally stricken individual who swears he knows nothing of the crime, and it’s even unclear whether he understands what’s going on.

Dover’s escalating worry for his daughter’s life, knowing the longer they wait, the less of a chance she has soon takes a violent turn for the worse. Dover’s impatience, fear and frustration begins to clash with the authorities, and a disturbing and ruthless form of torture and vigilantism takes part. It is not your feel good film of the year. Prisoners is dark and disturbing in every way possible a white-knuckle film with a shocking shade of torture in every edge. Every parent’s worst nightmare.

The filmmaking suspense and terror is exciting. Watching the emotional toll of the actors play these dying families who want nothing but answers is a brutal and moving at the same time. Prisoners is emotionally draining as the family, the detectives and everyone involved is put through the wringer, but it’s a sad ride that is eventually compelling, if not kind of exhausting. At two and a half hours, it is difficult to watch at times and also slightly slow at times but credit the director for knowing when to relax and then tighten up the film along the way.

Featuring a strong cast and probably Jackmans strongest role yet, everyone brings their A-Game, but Gyllenhaal as the desperate officer who wants nothing but to solve this case is an especially strong performance. It will be interesting to see what audiences respond to the film especially anyone who has a child. A first rate thriller. The picture is often graphic and does not shy away from the disturbing violence, but its steady nature gives it an impressive applause that won’t soon be forgotten. 4/5****