North Texas Daily

Review: “Prisoners”

Review: “Prisoners”

Review: “Prisoners”
September 20
11:06 2013

Cole Clay

Rating: 4.5/5

If you have seen the trailer for the film “Prisoners,” you might have an idea of where the plot is headed. But what you may not know is the depths that French-Canadian Director Denis Villenueve (“Incendies”) goes to combine a character-driven drama with sheer suspense and thematic questions.

When Keller Dover’s (Hugh Jackman) daughter goes missing, he takes matters into his own hands as Dectective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) attempts to track down the culprit. Both men pursue their own form justice and do what they believe to be right.

Villenueve is earnest in keeping the narrative puzzle moving at all times by tying all its suspects together with moments of despair. Each of these pieces is carefully connected by the themes of the film. He wants to know how each of the characters define faith and to test the lengths they will go to keep the ideal intact, even if that means forfeiting their humanity.

All of this might seem a little heavy-handed, but the director conveys it with such poise and elegance that you are able to keep a glimmer of hope even at the bleakest of times as you trudge through the same dark maze as the two protagonists.

The S at the end of the title is so important to this film because it just isn’t the girls who are held captive. Each of the characters is consumed or imprisoned by someone or something. Whether it is Dover becoming a prisoner himself, or capturing his daughter’s abductor or Detective Loki’s obsession with his profession, which is displayed impeccably when you get a glimpse of Gyllenhaal’s lonely eyes.

Jackman shows that he is a master of his craft with this role, coming full circle in terms of his versatility. The amount of conviction that the role requires from Jackman is astounding, by highlighting the complexity of the character in a completely casual manner.

The ten-time Academy Award nominated cinematographer Roger Deakins (“Skyfall”, “Shawshank Redemption”) centers you in the frigid and dreary setting by pacing the film with long stationary shots and using of shadows that chill you right down to the core.

At two and a half hours “Prisoners” doesn’t spare any scene as a throwaway, as you witness the crumbling hopes of the families, and the diligent, but seemingly futile, work of Loki. Villenueve’s skill as a masterful director will have you in need of a long walk to ponder what you have just witnessed.

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