When Keller Dover's daughter and her friend go missing, he takes matters into his own hands as the police pursue multiple leads and the pressure mounts.When Keller Dover's daughter and her friend go missing, he takes matters into his own hands as the police pursue multiple leads and the pressure mounts.When Keller Dover's daughter and her friend go missing, he takes matters into his own hands as the police pursue multiple leads and the pressure mounts.
**** (out of 4)
Incredibly well-made and intense mystery about two little girls who go missing and the detective (Jake Gyllenhaal) put on the case to find them. When the original suspect (Paul Dano) is let go, one of the girl's father (Hugh Jackman) decides to take justice in his own hands. I really had high hopes going into PRISONERS and my expectations for a great film were met but I must admit that it wasn't anywhere near the type of great film I expected. A lot of thrillers these days are limited on talk and emotions and instead we just get one big, staged action scene after another. That's certainly not the case here because the film takes its time (153-minutes) telling its story and there are so many quiet moments where we just see the characters losing their grip and emotions as they try to make sense of not knowing where these two girls are. What really pushes the film over the edge are the terrific performances with Jackson leading the way in what's the best performance I've seen from him. This isn't your "loving" father in the traditional sense. Instead he's someone quite scary from the first time we see him and we see how much worse he gets as the picture goes along. While on one hand you sympathize with his situation, on the other hand you really can't support what he's doing and often wonderful about his own involvement in things. Jackman really comes off like a man full of emotion and rage and he just doesn't know how to properly let it out. The anger he shows throughout the film is something so raw that you really do feel as if you're watching a man who has a daughter missing. Gyllenhaal also deserves a lot of credit for the way he played the detective role. I really loved the various obstacles that his character gets put through and especially the own weakness and at times stuck-up approach. The supporting cast includes wonderful performances by Dano, Melissa Leo, Terrence Howard, Maria Bello and Viola Davis. The screenplay isn't going to give you a lot of easy answers and there are many times where you hate the lead characters and can't find anything in them to root for. I thought it was quite brave that the film was willing to take so many chances and it asks the viewer to ask themselves many questions about how they would react to what's going on. I can't say I agreed with all the choices but it's great that a film actually makes you think as that's something quite rare these days. PRISONERS isn't exactly an "enjoyable" film as it has you feeling dirty throughout the running time but if you stick with it the thing is certainly very rewarding.
- Nov 21, 2013