A dying father seeks a second chance with his daughter in the newest film from director Catherine Hardwicke, Prisoner’s Daughter.
Max (Brian Cox) is dying of pancreatic cancer and is being given a second chance after being released from prison. To be fair, the warden would only let him out on house arrested provided he stay with his daughter, Maxine (Kate Beckinsale). It’s not surprising that she is initially reluctant, what with his past. Maxine comes around but only when money becomes involved. Her only condition is that her son, Ezra (Christopher Convery), never finds out the truth about her prize fighter-turned-mob enforcer father. As if matters could not be any worse, ex-husband Tyler (Tyson Ritter) wants to be involved with his son’s life despite clearly being a drug addict.
Max and Maxine eventually come to see a growth in their relationship. Sure, it isn’t easy but they’re at a very different place late in the film. When Max learns that students are bullying Ezra, he sees to it that his grandson gets training to defend himself. But beyond the smaller plot details, this is a film that is truly about trauma and what it takes to heal from it. Will Maxine let Ezra know the truth about Max or will he just be that “uncle” that Ezra never knew about? I’ll let you see the film to find out for yourself.
Las Vegas and its heat are characters in and of itself. Maxine and Ezra live in a house with no air conditioning and the heat clearly impacts them. As an FYI, they don’t live close to the Las Vegas Strip. But beyond this, what impresses me the most about the film is how they’re able to film around Kate Beckinsale’s back injury. The actress herniated a disc four days into filming and was in-patient throughout the rest of production.
Whichever distributor ends up acquiring the film will have some beautiful performances from Kate Beckinsale and Brian Cox. That Beckinsale is doing this film while recovering from a back injury will never not impress me. Meanwhile, Cox is doing some amazing work on the screen right now. His performance as a dying man in Prisoner’s Daughter is no less impressive than his Emmy-nominated work in HBO’s Emmy-winning Succession.
Prisoner’s Daughter is full of intense moments in this film about second chances.
DIRECTOR: Catherine Hardwicke
SCREENWRITER: Mark Bacci
CAST: Kate Beckinsale, Brian Cox, Christopher Convery, Jon Huertas, with Ernie Hudson and Tyson Ritter
Prisoner’s Daughter holds its world premiere during the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival in the Gala Presentations program. Grade: 3.5/5
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