Imagine the perfect family: a devoted spouse, a mature son, and a loving, innocent daughter. Now imagine that little girl is abducted. This is the driving force behind director Denis Villenueve’s fast-paced thriller “Prisoners”, making audiences question, “Just how far would one be willing to go to get that little girl back?”
Released August 20, “Prisoners” stars Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, Terrence Howard, and Viola Davis in the story of a desperate father forced to take matters into his own hands upon the disappearance of his daughter and her friend.
On Thanksgiving Day, the Dover family arrives at the home of their neighbors, the Birches. As the family eats and celebrates, the two youngest, Anna and Joy, disappear after playing outside near a mysterious RV.
Outraged by the lack of progress Detective Loki (Gyllenhaal) and local police have made, Keller Dover (Jackman) decides to take matters into his own hands, kidnapping the only suspect (Dano) and attempting to find his missing daughter through whatever means necessary.
Running at 153 minutes, “Prisoners” is one of few films today where every minute is used to its full potential. As the story progresses, twists and turns constantly develop, allowing an almost interactive experience where audiences are pushed to try and solve the mystery as the characters make new discoveries.
Beyond the immensely intricate plot, the performances from both Jackman and Gyllenhaal are exceptional. Jackman’s take on a violently frantic father is at times hard to watch but shows just how far desperation can impair one’s morals. Gyllenhaal’s character may lack back-story, but the scattered tattoos, facial tics, and straightforward personality helps depict a man with a once checkered past.
All in all, “Prisoners” is a gripping and symbolic film. The plot is well-developed and mystifying, keeping audiences guessing throughout the entire movie. The performances are undeniably real and complex, adding depth and intensity to an already authentic movie experience.
I’m giving “Prisoners” 5/5 kernels!