Film Review – Prisoners (2013)

IMDB Score – 8.3
RT Score – 80%

Guys, I think it has finally happened. I think we finally have started to hit that point where quality films are going to start coming out and that one of the most boring and uneventful summer of movies is about to end. There have been some good films this year but as a whole I’m glad it’s starting to end. Cannes, Sundance, and the Venice/Toronto film festivals have ended and the New York Film Festival just opened last night. We’re here guys. We’re here.

Prisoners debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival and placed 3rd in the People’s Choice category. I say it was well deserved. Denis Villeneuve, who directed on of my favorite films ever in Incendies, heads this film about a child abduction and how two men try to find the missing children. The film has a stellar cast comprised of Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Terrance Howard, Paul Dano, Melissa Leo, Maria Bello, and Viola Davis. I mention this lot because I think the acting was the highlight of the film as we get a powerhouse performance by Hugh Jackman and great subtle performances by Viola Davis and Paul Dano. The rest were great as well but the aforementioned stole scenes for me. Jackman is going to be in consideration for awards and until Oscar season comes to an end is my favorite male role this year.

The title of this film holds true to the story as Denis Villeneuve shows us many instances of how people can be taken prisoner. It’s really hard to go into this film without revealing spoilers but I’ll try my best. The cinematography in this film is outstanding. The camera paints a very bleak landscape very very well. Lots of rain and overcast skies that pair up with wonderful camera work during many of the films nighttime scenes. This is a very deep film that really makes the viewer try to determine who the victims are in the grand scheme of thing. What do we do when somebody takes somebody you love? What happens when you think the police aren’t doing the best they can do? I left the theater thinking that the end of the film, while fitting, didn’t quite determine the fates of those involved. This in no way deterred me from liking, even loving the film, as it gave me a lot to think about. This is a film that shows you just enough to be incredibly powerful and disturbing without threatening to beat the living snot out of you with it.

Prisoners has some fantastic twists and turns and fantastic performances from the cast. It’s Seven, meets Zodiac, meets Gone Baby Gone but just so unique in its own right.


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