Friday, October 11, 2013

Prisoners review

This movie was so intense and so seriously insane, that I don't think it's appropriate it to start my review with some corny joke or saying that's somehow connected to the movie like I usually do. Prisoners is the kind of movie that keeps you watching until the last second, and then keeps you thinking long after the credits have rolled. I can't help but be reminded of David Fincher's 2007 film, Zodiac. A similar feeling thriller also starring Jake Gyllenhaal that kept me thinking long after the movie finished. But I don't want to go around making comparisons of Prisoners to other movies. Even though the movie has elements similar to other mysteries, it is also very unique. The plot to the film is that on one Thanksgiving, two children by the names of Anna Dover and Joy Birch disappeared. The families are devastated and immediately start looking for the kids.A suspect is soon found, but he seems to be innocent. The father of one of the missing girls, Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman), starts to go a bit crazy looking for the two girls. He uses any means possible to find out where is daughter is. Torture being one of them. Meanwhile, Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) is on the case to find the girls. he begins to unearth something bigger then he originally thought. Prisoners is directed by Canadian-born filmmaker Denis Villeneuve, who last directed the Oscar nominated, Incendies (which I unfortunately didn't see). Villeneuve is a new director to me. I wish I'd heard about him earlier, because if his other works are anything like Prisoners, I'll be wanting to see them. His direction here is perfect for the movie. He gives it a very grim and dark mood that goes right along with the story. It's almost always raining in the story, reminiscent of older noir movies like Sin City and Blade Runner that used that technique to develop a dark feeling. His direction is one of the main reasons, although not the only one, that this movie never really gets boring. There's always a sense of dread in the air that keeps you wondering what will happen next. Prisoners is a long film, so you have to give credit to it. Any movie that';s able to grab your attention and hold it for that long deserves some extra praise in my book. Only a few movies like Magnolia and JFK have been able to do that for me. The acting here really helps too. Hugh Jackman is quite good as the angry dad of one of the kidnapped girls. He's certainly coming up in the acting world. I see another Oscar nod in his future.The rest of the supporting cast is great too. Especially Paul Dano as a mentally disabled suspect and Melissa Leo as his protective grandmother. The performance I thought stood out the most for me was Jake Gyllenhaal. As some of you may know, I think Mr. Gyllenhaal is a terrific actor. Brokeback Mountain, Donnie Darko, and End of Watch are all some examples. He's just as good here. His portrayal of this frustrated cop is spot on. You can tell he's really into the role. Gyllenhaal is one of the best parts of the film. Prisoners is full of little bits of symbolism and and twists that you 'didn't see coming'. It's occasionally annoying, but only occasionally. Prisoners doesn't overdue it on twists and dumb plot devices a lot of thrillers resort to. It doesn't need to. The good parts of this movie are it's performances and it's direction and intricate plot. Prisoners is one of those rare thrillers, not unlike Zodiac, that does almost everything right without putting in unnecessary twists and flashy annoyances. (I'm looking at you, Now You See Me.) I honestly wasn't expecting as much as I got out of the film. My favorite part is how the ending was handled. But I won't spoil it for you, go see for your self. I assure you it'll be a movie-going experience you won't forget. I don't know yet if Prisoners is the best movie of the year, but right now it has my top spot. I give Prisoners 4.5 out of 5 stars. Happy Viewing! You can follow me on Twitter @WhitsMovies and like me on Facebook at!        

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