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Chris Vognar’s “Child-Abduction Thriller” Aims for the Heart, Misses

In response to Chris Vognar’s 502‑word review of Prisoners on Dallas Morning News

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Chris Vognar is a critic who believes that movies should have heart, and heart is the running theme of his review “Child-abduction thriller ‘Prisoners’ leaves the heart behind (B).” Does the movie have heart? How much heart does it have? Is it enough heart or not enough heart?

What never becomes entirely clear is what he means by “heart.” Early on in the review Vognar seems to imply that heart is synonymous with “the gut,” but even the most amateur of medical doctors would caution that the heart is a muscle and not in fact a gut, let alone the gut, which usually refers to the stomach. The heart is not even in the stomach, but looming somewhere above it in the chest cavity.

Perhaps “heart” means not thinking things through carefully. That’s another implication looming in the dark recesses of Child-abduction thriller.   Perhaps Vognar is a student of improv and unimpressed by things like plotting or writing stuff down.

Any one of these scenarios is equally likely, but in the end there is no real resolution to the heart question in Child-abduction thriller, nor to the question of why “child-abduction” would be hyphenated. The reader is left with more questions than answers, and that makes it a frustrating experience at best.    

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