BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
SEPTEMBER 22, 2013
What can only be described as an epic, slow-burn thriller, “Prisoners,” is a direct descendant of the dark worlds shaped by director David Fincher? With drained color and constant dreariness in every scene, the tone of the film is off the charts. The drizzling rain and stormy days may seem somewhat heavy-handed, but these choices suck you into this world and drain the hope right out of you. Director Denis Villeneuve wastes no time providing false hope or building a world where life is healthy. Within the first twenty minutes, the girls get taken, and you’ll be amazed at how long Villeneuve can string you through the hunt. Built with strong performances from everyone involved and bringing to light some precedent subjects like torture and the human psyche, the film takes hold and never lets up.
Jake Gyllenhaal is the highlight of the film as Detective Loki, bringing a silent charisma and unending bravado that provides this stern drama with everything that it needs to keep going. Hugh Jackman makes some definitive choices in his role but ultimately becomes monotonous and loud throughout the film. Still, I’d make a case that this is the point, leading to an eventual ending that serves up justice in all directions. Terrence Howard and Maria Bello slightly phone-in their performances, not given much to work with, while Paul Dano, Melissa Leo, and Viola Davis all give above par performances. “Prisoners” deals with sleight of hand and a realistic look at a detective working in a small town.
As Loki uncovers many of the dark secrets throughout the town, he finds that they might be more interconnected than he could have imagined. Apart from feeling slightly ahead of all the case revelations, the thriller still holds its surprises and has you guessing until the very end. With a superb and subtle ending, concluding the film at the exact perfect moment, this film will stay with you. Plus, any movie that can tout a 150-minute run-time and keep the suspense building and the story interesting is a massive achievement.
September 20, 2013
Warner Bros. Pictures
(or disturbing violent content including torture, and language throughout)
Roger A. Deakins
Gary D. Roach
Andrew A. Kosove