(director/writer: Atom Egoyan; screenwriters: David Fraser/story by Egoyan; cinematographer: Paul Sarossy; editor: Susan Shipton; music: Mychael Danna; cast: Alexia Fast (Cass), Peyton Kennedy (Cass, at 9), Ryan Reynolds (Matthew), Mireille Enos (Tina), Rosario Dawson (Nicole), Scott Speedman (Jeffrey), Kevin Durand (Mika), Bruce Greenwood (Vince), Ella Ballentine (Jennifer), Aidan Shipley (Albert), Christine Horne (Vicky), Ian Matthews (Willy); Runtime: 112; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Simone Urdl/Jennifer Weiss/Stephen Traynor/Atom Egoyan; Entertainment One and ARP Selection; 2014-Canada)

“A ludicrous, unconvincing and unpleasant kidnapping thriller.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Another recent disappointing film for on the skids once great Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan(“Family Viewing”/”Speaking Parts”/”The Adjuster”). His 14th feature film is a ludicrous, unconvincing and unpleasant kidnapping thriller, told in a procedural and tabloid story style, about missing kids and worried parents. The story is by the director, who co-writes the screenplay with David Fraser.

The nine-year-old Cass (Peyton Kennedy) is kidnapped from the back of the family pickup truck in northern Ontario when dad, Matthew (Ryan Reynolds), briefly left her alone to buy a pie for his wife Tina (Mireille Enos). Dad has been guilt-ridden ever since. We quickly learn that Cass was being stalked by a scary tech-savvy pedophile ring.

During the next eight years the captive, Cass (Alexia Fast), is sexually abused in a locked room by the creepy Mika (Kevin Durand) and evidently suffering from a case of Stockholm syndrome and accepts her rotten fate. The creepy perv also gets his jollies tormenting and spying on the parents, as he uses high-tech spy cameras to watch Tina do her housekeeping chores at the hotel that employs her.

There are indications Cass is still alive, so detectives Jeffrey (Scott Speedman) and his wife Nicole (Rosario Dawson), who are specialists in kidnapped children cases, work as an investigator team. They also provide counseling to the couple. Nicole offers compassion to Tina, but Jeffrey, with no proof but his wild imagination, suspects Matthew of having sold his own daughter into child slavery.

Though the filmmaker still offers excellent craftsmanship, the lead actors all give fine performances and the grey Canadian skies are superbly photographed capturing the desolation of the region, nevertheless the pic is a clunker because it’s so tawdry, so hamstrung, and the dialogue so brutal. The disposable film can’t even manage to ever say what it’s driving at over this tragic situation without seemingly being exploitative and never offers, as one would expect from a top filmmaker, any serious psychological commentary.

REVIEWED ON 10/11/2014 GRADE: C+