Awards season gets under way this weekend with a gritty hostage drama featuring more turns than a revolving door. Of course there were a few Oscar-worthy films released this summer but come fall, most of the potential winners come out after their film festival debuts. This weekend sees the opening of “Prisoners,” boasting one of the strongest casts of the year. Arguably the only better cast seen this fall appears in the film that just beat out the raw Hugh Jackman-starring drama at the Toronto Film Festival (TFF).
The dark “Prisoners” came in second for TFF’s People’s Choice Award for Best Film, being beaten out by Steve McQueen’s highly anticipated slave drama “12 Years a Slave,” a film looking to swim in awards come spring, especially for the biggies of Best Picture, Best Director (McQueen), and Best Actor (Chiwetel Ejiofor). Paul Dano gets the lucky honor of appearing in both films and this weekend plays the kidnapping suspect of Jackman and Terrence Howard’s young daughters, yet is a man with a childlike mind. Dano picks and chooses his films with more care than most young, budding actors, putting him on the map as a growing star with turns in critical hits such as “Little Miss Sunshine,” and “There Will Be Blood.” In addition to these three strong male actors the film features some of the best female talent as well with Melissa Leo, Viola Davis, and Maria Bello. Rounding out this formidable cast is Jake Gyllenhaal as Detective Loki, a man lacking any backstory but always making sure it is clear there is one, just not in this tale. Also, look out for the work of cinematographer Roger Deakins who builds on a dark tone, creating the sense that more than the little girls are trapped.
Ron Howard’s “Rush” opens next weekend starring Chris Hemsworth, although all the awards talks is going to supporting actor Daniel Bruhl. Still, the only thing more boring than a movie about car racing may be to actually watch a car race so hold your breath on that one’s box office performance or ability to keep critics awake in their chairs.
Also opening this weekend is the sweet adult comedy “Enough Said” staring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and the late, and great, James Gandolfini. About adult romances involving spiteful exes and awkward flirtations, this reaches a very real median of sweet and sad, reflecting in an all-in-all truthful and happy way the trials and tribulations of giving love another shot outside of your 20’s.
This summer did see some great films, such as “Mud”, “Before Midnight,” and “Blue Jasmine” but the bevy of critical hits open in the coming months. So many great flicks are on their way, including “The Dallas Buyers’ Club,” “Gravity,” “August: Osage County,” and Steve Carell’s dark “Foxcather,” in which the goofy comedian plays a paranoid schizophrenic who murders his friend, an Olympic wrestler. All in all it is a strong weekend for film and a pleasant kickoff to the fall season. Some stories will be hard to watch and harder still for one to turn away.