MOVIE REVIEW: “Prisoners” stars Hugh Jackman (Logan, Eddie the Eagle), Jake Gyllenhaal (Nocturnal Animals, Nightcrawler ), Maria Bello (The Cooler, A History of Violence), Terrence Howard (Iron Man, Hustle & Flow), Viola Davis (Fences, Suicide Squad), Melissa Leo (Oblivion, The Fighter), Paul Dano (Swiss Army Man, Love & Mercy), Dylan Minnette (Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day, Goosebumps ), Zoë Soul (The Purge: Anarchy, Reed Between the Lines [TV series]), Erin Gerasimovich (Delivery Man, Odd Mom Out [TV series]), Kyla-Drew (Peppermint, Crown Lake [TV series]), Wayne Duvall (O Brother Where Art Thou?, The Hunt), and David Dastmalchian (The Dark Knight, Ant-Man). It is directed by Denis Villeneuve (Blade Runner 2049, Sicario) and written by Aaron Guzikowski (Contraband, Papillon ). After their daughters disappear, two distraught families struggle to carry on. In a desparate attempt to find his little girl, Keller Dover (Jackman) takes matters into his own hands, while Detective Loki (Gyllenhaal) discovers there is more to this case than meets the eye.
You know you’re in for a treat when you sit down to a Villeneuve film. At this point, it’s a stamp of approval. For those of you who don’t know him or his work, please look him up. See his portfolio. “Sicario,” “Enemy,” “Arrival,” and most recenty “Blade Runner 2049.” The man knows how to make art, especially when he pairs up with his buddy Roger Deakins (the cinematographer). “Prisoners” is no exception. Built on a star-studded cast and gripping script, “Prisoners” is a fascinating mystery with a lot of meat to chew on. We are all aware of the child-kidnapping story; it’s heartbreaking and leaves parents broken in its wake. Both in real life and cinema this topic is a difficult pill to swallow, and Villeneuve taps into the aspect of not only searching for missing children, but what bad things the bereaved parents can do for their lost kid. Let me tell you all, “Prisoners” is not for the faint-hearted. While there is no torture of children, there is a good amount of torture towards adults, as well as a play of the psyche. Jackman and Gyllenhaal are flat-out astounding. Heck, everyone in this is. To think that the producers pulled together a cast such as this is remarkable. It’s one of Jackman’s best performances, and everyone is utilized exceptionally (well, Maria Bello is mostly bed-ridden throughout this, but whaddaya gonna do?). From the beginning to the end I was captivated, from an acting standpoint to a cinematography standpoint to a writing standpoint. As I expected, “Prisoners” is great. Throughout the course of its journey, you are left on the edge of your seat, wondering where the story will take you; and man, does it go down some dark paths. The character of Keller Dover is an interesting one, and while I would’ve liked a deeper dive into his religious side, it’s unmistakable that there are strong religious themes in this. I mean, the movie opens with the Lord’s prayer, setting a perfect tone to what will come, not only for Dover, but the turmoil of man in general. It dissects the monstrous nature of man, and just how difficult it is for us to forgive someone else. It’s movies like these that challenge you, not in a complex way (Villeneuve chose to be more surface level in this outing), but by means of simply demonstrating to you what we can become when we’re pinned. Really, it’s revealing to us what we already know, but not necessarily the example we would think we’d be presented with. Bottom line, “Prisoners” is a gorgeous piece of cinema with a grueling story that’ll leave you drained. It wraps up everything neatly by its conclusion, with hardly any loose ends; granted, I do think that they could’ve expounded on the maze idea more, considering how it’s a visually striking image (and a representation of our bad guys), but at the end of the day everything works. As a side note, I would also love to mention how awesome Jóhann Jóhannsson’s score is for this film. It’s a treat. And Roger Deakins? What can I say, he can paint a pretty picture (he was also nominated for Best Cinematography at the Oscars for this, so… yeah). If you’re looking for a gripping mystery with terrific acting, “Prisoners” is a no-brainer. FINAL SCORE: 94%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: