From director Denis Villeneuve (Enemy, Indecencies) comes this thrilling crime drama about how far some will go to protect their families. Facing the worst possible nightmare for a parent, Keller Dover’s (Hugh Jackman) daughter disappears on thanksgiving when she goes outside to play with her friend. Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) arrests the only lead for the entire case, Alex Jones, the driver of an RV that was parked on the street the children live on just hours before their disappearance. With Alex Jones’ IQ being the same as that of a ten year old, he isn’t much help during police questioning and they are forced to release him after 48 hours, infuriating Keller Dover who is already on the edge, forcing him to take matters into his own hands.
Jackman and Gyllenhaal are excellent leads for the thriller; Jackman brilliantly delves into the dark side of the human psyche that one will only access in times of extreme stress and terror. Meanwhile, Gyllenhaal portrays a detective who is often torn between his police status and natural instinct, also having his own demons which are never touched upon. This could have let the film down significantly should the story not be as high octane as it is. Both characters are single minded in their personal ways but both with the same goal, finding Keller Dover’s young daughter and her friend alive and well.
Cinematographer Roger Deakins is best known for his work with the Coen Brothers and Sam Mendes, but his work on Prisoners (2013) saw him receive an Academy Award nomination in 2014 for Best Cinematography; though in the film it isn’t the most notable aspect, it is brilliant in its own subtle way. On watching the film for a second time, you will notice the wonderful framing which uses objects already on the screen in parallel with the edge of the frame, giving the action a frame inside the screen.
The story is a maze full of twists and turns keeping you invested and despite a few plot holes, Prisoners isn’t dragged off course and doesn’t cause too much confusion. Combined, the abduction itself and the extent a gather will go to protect his children is genuinely terrifying.
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