John Link hasn't been the best father, up until recently he's constantly been on the wrong side of the law and usually at the bottom end of a bottle too. Having been in prison, John and his daughter have become estranged, Lydia is actually missing and has been for years. John's only real connection to his daughter is the missing poster he keeps pinned up in his RV.
In recovery and now working a legal job as a tattoo artist, John admits that there's not much he wouldn't do to right the wrongs of his past - including losing contact with his daughter but also says there's very little he can do. When he receives a phone call from Lydia claiming that she's in serious danger, John is glad to hear his daughters voice but also worried about her safety.
As the father and daughter return to his home, John raids Lydia's possessions looking for answers and what he finds leads him to believe that she's in real danger. Lydia informs her dad that she's been living with a cartel leader and that, after accidentally shooting him, his crew is now out for vengeance. John must turn to past associates in order to formulate a plan to protect his troubled daughter.
The '12 Years A Slave' director will receive the accolade at the London Film Festival in October.
Critics from all over the world were asked to name the best movie of the past 16 years.