PLOT: Newly identified with pancreatic most cancers, a convicted assassin (Brian Cox) is given a supervised, compassionate launch beneath the supervision of his long-estranged daughter (Kate Beckinsale).
REVIEW: Prisoner’s Daughter is a return to director Catherine Hardwick’s indie roots. In recent times she’s been recognized mainly for bigger motion pictures just like the latest Miss Bala remake, Twilight, and Crimson Driving Hood. Earlier than these, she directed 13 and the underrated Lords of Dogtown, and Prisoner’s Daughter appears like a throwback to these sorts of flicks. It’s a low-key character drama with ethical message at its core and sports activities usually wonderful performances from the 2 leads, Brian Cox and Kate Beckinsale.
Cox is an attention-grabbing option to play Max, a brutal former boxer turned debt collector who’s been in jail for killing somebody. We’re used to seeing him play patriarchs, most famously on Succession, and primarily based on that function, you’d anticipate him to be equally chilly and brutal right here. That’s not the case. Hardwick tries to subvert your expectations as, regardless of his brutal previous, Cox’s Max is a very sympathetic character who genuinely desires to make the most effective of the time he has left. His key motivation is to fix his relationship together with his daughter, Maxine, performed by Beckinsale, in a task that has rather a lot in frequent together with her underrated film, Snow Angels.
Maxine lives within the a part of Las Vegas we by no means see in motion pictures. She lives behind the scenes of the glitz and glamour and works a number of jobs to assist her son, Ezra (Christopher Convery). The boy’s father (Tyson Ritter – of All American Rejects) is a violent heroin addict, so she’s on her personal making an attempt to make ends meet. Given their historical past, you anticipate Hardwick and author Mark Bacci to emphasise the strain between father and daughter. As soon as once more, subverting expectations, they don’t do this. Maxine desires the most effective for her son and is aware of that, regardless of every part, her father may help, so she instantly lets him in, to a sure extent (though she tells her son he’s an estranged uncle), in order that she will be able to higher assist her son.
Beckinsale imbues Maxine with quite a lot of dignity and humor. She’s having issue making ends meet, however we see her consistently make the most effective of each scenario, even mocking the crappy knock-off Frosted Flakes she has to provide her son for breakfast. The connection between her and Cox is a delight, with the real affection the 2 start to have for one another properly conveyed. But, Hardwick additionally by no means goes excessive with schmaltz. Each characters are powerful, and the rebuilding of the connection between the 2 of them is constructed extra on mutual respect. He respects her for a way good of a mom and supplier she is, whereas she respects him for his new dedication to sobriety and his real want to assist the household the most effective he can within the time he has left.
Cox additionally has wonderful chemistry with Convery’s Ezra, with the boy a relentless sufferer of bullying. Max helps toughen him up a bit in a delicate type of manner, enlisting his finest buddy, a boxer coach named Hank) performed by the good Ernie Hudson – who appears to have stopped growing old someplace round 2005) to assist train him methods to defend himself bodily. Whereas there’s by no means a doubt Ezra will ultimately beat the tar out of his bullies, it’s enjoyable to look at these powerful guys work together with a child, and once more, their affection in the direction of him appears real relatively than schmalzy.
The place some could take difficulty with Prisoner’s Daughter is the ultimate act, which can show a sticking level for some critics. Within the final twenty minutes, the movie turns into thriller territory, giving Cox an opportunity to have interaction in a number of punch-ups. It does come throughout as a bit of jarring, however you’re so invested within the household that you simply’ll welcome seeing Cox play a heroic, tough-guy half. If the film had been full of much less succesful actors, it won’t have labored, however Hardwick has finished a superb job making you put money into them, and Cox and Bosworth are so good that they make the twist work fairly effortlessly.
In the long run, Prisoner’s Daughter is a small movie that seemingly can be seen by a wider viewers when it hits streaming – which isn’t a foul place for it. It’s a nice character-driven drama that’s nowhere close to as grim because the premise may recommend. It’s a strong household film (when you don’t thoughts Cox dropping quite a lot of F-bombs) with a properly redemptive message at its coronary heart.