Starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal, Prisoners will leave you drained after an intense two and a half hours of child abduction, torture and plot twists.
A film about child abduction and what lengths you would go to in order to find your child, it’s a tough subject matter that director Dennis Villeneuve and writer Aaron Guzikowski handle well, producing a very good film, but it is not without its flaws that undermine the story.
Starring a rugged Hugh Jackman cast as Keller Dover, a father who takes matters into his own hands when his daughter and the daughter of his friend and neighbour (Terrence Howard and Viola Davis) are abducted on Thanksgiving.
Franklin: “This ain’t right. What if you’re wrong? What if you only heard what you wanna hear?”
Keller: “We hurt him until he talks, or they’re gonna die. That’s the choice we have to make. I know what I heard and I’ve made my choice.” – Scene from ‘Prisoners’
Jake Gyllenhaal puts in a good performance as a twitchy detective called Loki who clearly has his own issues and intriguing back story that are alluded to throughout the film, adding to part of the mystery of the story. However his character’s reliance upon luck borders upon the ridiculous and weakens his character.
Feeling helpless, with a belief that the police are wrong in releasing the creepy Alex (Paul Dano), Jackman takes matters into his own hands and opts to capture and torture Dano in the hope of finding the abducted children. Dano, Terrence Howard and Melissa Leo put in solid performances without being outstanding. The mother Grace (Maria Bello) plays a surprisingly small role, spending her time assigning blame, crying and taking fistfuls of prescription drugs.
Prisoners heavy subject matter starts to wear on the viewer and the runtime of 2 hours 25 minutes, could have been shortened with a few less moody shots of rain and fallen leaves which failed to add depth and felt forced.
A film that sets itself up for a depressing ending, miraculously and somewhat unsurprisingly a happy ending pulls itself from the gloom, whilst not a completely happy ending, you are left feeling as though it was neutered by Hollywood’s desire for films not to end on a downer.
The film will leave you in a moral quandary as to how you are supposed to feel about righteous violence, whilst condemning, the film also exonerates.