Prisoners is an outstanding new mystery/thriller that manages to sustain its tension right to the last second.If you have seen the trailer, you know quite a bit about Prisoners.Hugh Jackman plays Keller Dover, a construction worker who lives in a quiet New England suburb with his wife (Maria Bello), teenage son, and six year old daughter. While spending Thanksgiving with the family of his life-long friend and neighbor, Franklin Birch (Terrance Howard), Keller and Franklin discover that both of their daughters are suddenly missing.After frantically searching the area, the only lead they have is a strange RV that was parked in the area.With the help of Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) and the police, they are able to track down the RV and apprehend a suspect (Paul Dano), but due to his mental incapacity and lack of evidence, he is released.This sends Prisoners in a harrowing new direction as Keller and Franklin wade through some ethically murky waters in the search for their daughters.
Prisoners does a phenomenal job of keeping its cards close to the vest.In its transition from drama to revenge thriller, director Denis Villenuve and writer Aaron Guzikowski do not force the film in any one direction continuously playing with the audience’s sensibilities.Villenuve and Guzikowski are relative newcomers to the scene, although Villenuve did helm the 2010 Best Foreign Film Oscar nominee, Incendies.This is also a very smart movie in that it is not a run of the mill type of thriller.Several nuanced touches and motifs present themselves that allow the film to be absorbed to a deeper level, resulting in a film that stays with you long after you leave the theater.Take special note of the film’s opening scene and revisit it after having seen the movie for a taste of what I’m talking about.
The film manages the gripping tone of films like Silence of the Lambs or Zodiac.The film also looks great.It was shot by Roger Deakins, known for his work with the Coen Brothers on most of their projects.With Prisoners, Deakins uses his static and deliberate camera movements to enhance every suspenseful opportunity.It’s a tremendously well-crafted picture and a finely acted one as well.The film boasts Academy Award winners and nominees aplenty, and all of them are looking for more in this film.Gyllanhaal is especially good at elevating the traditional detective character to something more relatable, raw, and grounded.This is, however, Jackman’s movie in every way.He takes the audience on a wild ride of emotion bringing just the right amount of crazy to keep us from judging his choices too harshly.
Prisoners is not just a good start to the fall movie season, it sets the bar.Few films offer such chilling emotion, engrossing action, and captivating performances, especially with running times of 158 minutes!This is truly an excellent film.A
Prisoners is rated R an has a running time of 2 hours and 38 minutes.Use the restroom before you go in because you won’t want to miss a second of it.