I just saw this in a movie theater (a press screening) and I was totally overwhelmed! What a movie!
The story about two missing kids and their families going through a heart-breaking and violent tragedy might play out sentimental and simplistic, but Denis Villeneuve, in his first Hollywood outing, keeps things both fragile and rough at the same time. You can feel the tension in the pictures, in the actors' movements, in the saddening Pennsylvania milieu the film takes place in... Although there are some things that were done less or more slackly, I'll give this five stars out of five.
It must've started out with Winter's Bone. There have been lots of recent interesting and touching films that have crimes in them, but are not crime films per se: Place Beyond the Pines, Paperboy, Mud, Take Shelter, End of Watch... There are also Andrew Dominik's admirable Killing Them Softly and William Friedkin's sick but funny Killer Joe, not to mention Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive and Only God Forgives and Harmony Korine's Spring Breakers.
Noir thrives in Hollywood.