9 October 2013


Gritty, violent, ruthless - Prisoners. Leading man Hugh Jackman (X-Men, The Prestige) stars in this crime thriller that will have you biting your nails from the first ten minutes.

When two young girls go missing during Thanksgiving dessert, something that has been hiding in plain sight comes to the surface. Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal: Zodiac, Donnie Darko) with his immaculate track record is assigned to the case, fighting day and night to unravel what appears to be much more than just kidnapped children. As the plot thickens, fueling a deeper investigation, Keller Dover (Jackman) shows us exactly how far he would go to save his child. Taking matters into his own hands, much to the disgust of neighbor Franklin Birch (Terrence Howard) things get a bit out of hand - so powerful that we start to question our own morality. How far would you go to save someone you loved?

French director Denis Villeneuve brings a fresh and inventive feel to Prisoners. Considering this guy has only done a handful of feature length films, he really illustrates what he can do and I for one, hope to see his name on screen in the future. The direction is simple but beautifully effective. Undoubtedly, credit is due to Jackman and Gyllenhaal, who both bring outstanding depth and personality to their characters. After witnessing Les Miserables earlier this year, audiences around the world were in awe of the action man, Wolverine's performance and yet again, here he brings that same emotive, soul-touching performance. Interestingly, Gyllenhaal was awarded with Best Supporting Actor at the Hollywood Film Festival, but the calibre of this film is sure to sway festivals in the near future. 

After such popular dramas as CSI, Dexter and the latter day The Killing, we have become accustomed to such dark and sinister detective work and Prisoners doesn't hold back. It really hits home. Being a lengthy 2 hrs 33 minutes, it's a tricky task for anyone to keep an audience enthralled throughout but this lives up to expectations. The only problem was that it felt like they were dwelling too much on certain plot-lines and not devoting enough time to aspects that were truly fascinating, leaving you wanting more (perhaps a positive quality?). By the by, writer Aaron Guzikowski (Contraband) doesn't just hash out the standard, cliché revelation, forcing you to think and interpret everything that was left un-answered - but it would have been nice to have been given a bit more of an insight to the deeper story. With that aside, this has to be one of the best films of 2013. The entire cast hold their own with Paul Dano (Little Miss Sunshine, Looper) deserving a mention, playing the corrupted Alex Jones with pure talent. Prisoners will be floating through your thoughts days after you have witnessed it. With intense scenes that are shocking and difficult to watch, dealing with a heavy subject matter we feel a sigh of relief as we are taken to see something as fascinating as this. I look forward to seeing what Villeneuve comes up with in his next feature - Enemy, released early next year, also starring Jake Gyllenhall. One to keep and eye out for - what a gem.

Directed by Denis Villeneuve
153mins, 15 (2013)     

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