Prisoners is by no means your average crime thriller, and maybe that's why critics are swooning over the latest project form Oscar-nominated director Denis Villeneuve (Incendies); a kidnapping-based movie that promises to leave viewers questioning their own morals as to how far they'd go to protect their child. Starring Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal and the massively under-rated Paul Dano, the film has being widely praise since it premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival this month, with critics tipping their hats to the actors, director and everyone else involved for making one of the most memorable thrillers in years.

Hugh JackmanJake Gyllenhaal
Jackman and Gyllenhaal star alongside each other in "an actor's duel"

The film is set in a rural American town and poses the question, 'how far would you go to protect your child?' When the unthinkable happens to Keller Dover (Jackman) when his 6-year-old daughter and her friend go missing, seemingly leaving no trail and no certain answers as to where they could be. There is one possibility as to where they could be though, and that's the dilapidated RV of neighbourhood creepy guy Alex Jones (Dano), which was seen only moments later in the same vicinity as where the two girls went missing. It's a test against time as Detective Loki (Gyllenhaal) must get to the bottom of the crime before Dover gets to Jones and makes him pay for what he may have done.

"A film that seems headed toward one conclusion, then veers toward another over 2/₂ of the fastest-moving hours I've seen in a recent movie," a thoroughly impressed Lou Lumenick of the New York Post said of the movie. Meanwhile, Claudia Puig from USA Today was keen to comment on the "complicated moral questions" the film brings up, adding that this same question is used by the director to develop "an intricate, horrifying mystery with breathtaking skill."

Check out the trailer for Prisoners

A.O. Scott of the New York Times described the film as "artful" and laden with "naturalistic credibility," commenting, "It absorbs and controls your attention with such assurance that you hold your breath for fear of distracting the people on screen, exhaling in relief or amazement at each new revelation."

Much of the praise has been evenly distributed across all fields in the film, with the acting talent on display regularly being picked up for individual praise. There "fascinating actor's duel going on," says Wall Street Journal's Joe Morgenstern, whilst the Chicago Sun-Times critic Richard Roeper described the film as "one of the most intense thrillers in recent years," that contained "the best performance of Hugh Jackman's career."

Prisoners is out wide on 27 September.

Terrence Howard (L), Jake Gyllenhaal, Maria Bello, Denis Villeneuve, Hugh Jackman, Melissa Leo and Paul Dano (R) attend the TIFF premiere