Director: Denis Villeneuve
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Terrence Howard
Prisoners is an extremely grim movie about the abduction of two young girls and then the aftermath as everyone deals with it in different ways. One girl’s mother played by Maria Bello chugs down sleeping pills and stays in bed while her husband (Hugh Jackman) decides to take matters into his own hands. It’s a movie that gets its inspiration from European TV and is all the better for it.
More specifically the movie is heavily influenced by modern Scandinavian thrillers. It channels the excellent Danish television drama The Killing (or Forbrysden if you’re Danish or pretentious) so much you keep expecting some awful knitwear to appear. It’s so Scandinavian you can almost smell the minimalist furniture and hot girls. What I’m saying is – It’s really Scandinavian.
The film tries to do alot leaving it feeling unfocussed. We get a good police procedural drama, a portrayal of parental grief, and most troubling of all a story strand that dissects the ethics of torture. The whole torture issue is pretty heavy handed and bogs the film down but it seems the makers feel it’s what sets it apart from similar types of movies.
It’s a little bit Mystic River, a whole big bit of The Killing, and overall works as a gripping missing kids drama. The performances are excellent all round, with Jackman and Gyllenhaal standing out, the cinematography gives beauty to really shitty weather and the script is pretty good. You won’t find much humour in it so be prepared for a rough ride that is better as a whodunnit rather than a political statement.
Prisoners is close to an 8 out of 10 but I stepped in dog crap on my way home from it which soured the whole experience. If you can avoid street feces then you’ll get a lot from the film.
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