Prisoners involves the disappearance of two young girls. A suspect is arrested for the kidnapping but there isn’t enough evidence to keep him detained. The distraught father (Hugh Jackman) of one of the girls takes matter into his own hands as the police follow other leads.
When I saw the first trailer for Prisoners it had looked very cheesy to me. I thought it was going to be your run of the mill kidnapping movie but I was very wrong. My opinion started to change when it was getting rave reviews and cinematographer Roger Deakins (Skyfall, True Grit) took part in making this film. He is my favorite cinematographer so I couldn’t wait to see it. Prisoners has become one of my favorite movies this year.
Denis Villeneuve is fairly unknown director but did a incredible job in directing this film. One of his previous films, Incendies, was nominated for an Oscar a few years back. He reminds me a lot of David Fincher in the way he directs his films. Prisoners has a very gloomy and depressing feel to it. It has a run time of 153 minutes but this was not a slow burn. The pace of this film was set perfectly by building tension in many of the scenes. The plot can get a little confusing at some points but it wrapped together nicely at the end. All of the actors did very well in their roles and some of them had Oscar caliber performances.
Hugh Jackman led this film and gave one of the best performances I’ve seen from him. He had a lot of emotional sequences especially one involving a bathroom and a hammer. Jake Gyllenhaal (End of Watch, Source Code) played the detective that led the investigation of the disappearance and he did a superb job. There was a lot of mystery to his character that I wish was developed a little bit more. It would have added even more time to the film and it was necessary to the films plot. The supporting cast was fantastic including Terrance Howard (Iron Man), Viola Davis (The Help), Paul Dano (There Will Be Blood), Maria Bello (Grown Ups) and the unrecognizable Melissa Leo (The Fighter).
Prisoners looked amazing due to the direction of Denis Villeneuve and Roger Deakins. There were a lot of shots and sequences that stand out in my mind. One of my favorite shots is when there was a search party in the woods at night looking for the girls. It was an overhead shot of the woods, it was pitch black and all you could see were the flashlights scanning the forest floor. Simply stunning. Without giving anything away, there was a scene at the end of the film that was the most intense, well shot sequence I have seen all year. Bravo to Denis and Roger.
Prisoners has so many good things going for it including the acting and the direction. This is definitely a film worth checking out and I hope it will be considered for some Oscars. This is not a movie to miss so check it out if you get a chance.
4/5 - Great