Denis Villeneuve’s ‘Prisoners’ (2013)

My boyfriend and I have very different interests when it comes to film, so when we were at Red Box last night he had eyes on The Internship and I had my eyes on Prisoners. As you can see, I won that battle. If you don’t already know from my previous posts, I’m really into psychological thrillers. I love films that keep me guessing, and A+ if the film has a twist ending. Prisoners (2013) captured my heart by not only succeeding in the thriller department, but for creating an emotionally captivating story line and character development. jackman-prisonersWhen two girls go missing in broad daylight, Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman), the father of one of the girls, takes many risksĀ  in order to solve the case on his own terms. The families of the two girls are tested as evidence becomes more clear, and Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) heads the investigation to find the truth.
I’m not very familiar with Jackman’s work-I really only know him as Wolverine. While watching this film, I was really impressed by his portrayal of Keller Dover…honestly, his character was one of my favorite aspects. A lot of good stories have antiheroes, and Keller Dover is definitely one of them. His character has clear motive for what he does; however, his passionate emotion is the flaw that ultimately results in tragedy.
As for Gyllenhaal, I’ve seen quite a few films from him-both good and bad. This film actually reminded me a lot of Zodiac (2007), but in this case, Prisoners offers us the more mature side of Gyllenhaal. I was fascinated by his character in this film, and appreciated the obvious nervous tics he conducted. That small add-in made his character seem more hard-edged and careful, like a detective should be.
The twists and turns of this film kept me on the edge of my seat, and I found myself emotionally engaged with the characters. Although the film starts out light-hearted, it jumps into being dark very quickly, and many scenes throughout are quite disturbing. Each character in the film struggles in their own way, and it’s fascinating to see their plots unfold. When thinking of the word ‘prisoners’, I wanted to think in the beginning that it was the two girls who were kidnapped, but as the film went on, I started to believe there was more to the meaning, and it makes me question who were the true prisoners in this film.

“You know the most important thing your granddad ever taught me? Hmm? Be ready. Hurricane, flood, whatever it ends up being. No more food gets delivered to the grocery store, gas stations dry up. People just turn on each other, and uh, all of a sudden all that stands between you and being dead is you.” – Prisoners (2013)

Pros:

  • engaging and thrilling
  • captivating characters-fantastic character development
  • smart and well-executed
  • great ensemble, esp. Jake Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman
  • thought-provoking
  • stunning cinematography
  • must-see!

Cons:

  • not enough focus on the rest of the cast

Overall Rating: 9/10