Monday, September 30, 2013

REVIEW: Prisoners


Hugh Jackman,
Jake Gyllenhaal


September 20, 2013

Denis Villeneuve

Warner Bros. Pictures

2 hours 33 minutes



For the first time this year, I walked out of a movie shaking.  Like literally, my hands were still shaking when I was walking out of this film.  Now to be fair, it might have been because it was pretty cold outside when I exited the theater, but still, "Prisoners" is the first movie I've seen in 2013 that has truly shaken me to the core.  This is a film that makes you question how far you would go to find your child if they somehow go missing.  Without spoiling anything, I think it's pretty fair to say that Hugh Jackman's character gets a little out of hand and handles this situation to the extreme.  While Jackman is doing is own thing to find his daughter, along with the daughter of Terrence Howard and Viola Davis' characters, Jake Gyllenhaal's character has devoted himself to finding these two girls as well, and what unfolds is a 2 and a half hour intense thrill ride that grabs you by the horns and never lets go until the credits begin rolling.  "Prisoners" is not a film for soft parents or even soft people in general, so if you're not in that demographic, I'd highly recommend you checking this movie out.

If you thought Hugh Jackman was good in "Les Miserables," then wait until you see him in this movie.    Aside from maybe one or two moments where his character becomes a bit of an over the top, cookoo-for-cocoa-puffs type person, Jackman captivates the screen and gives possibly his most powerful and devoted performance to date.  While you might not agree with some of the things that Jackman's character does as the film progresses, you can still sympathize with him and understand exactly where he's coming from.  In a way, he's like a father Lion trying to protect his cubs by using any means of torture imaginable.  And like a Lion, his character is ferocious, gritty, and even terrifying at times.  As great as Jackman is, though, I believe that the one who stole the show was Jake Gyllenhaal.

Gyllenhaal just continues to further prove just how damn talented he is in this film as Detective Loki.  Loki, while being a tough-as-nails cop, has a good heart and will stop at nothing to find the two little girls and bring them to safety.  Gyllenhaal gives a raw, effective, and all around great performance, and he once again proves that he is one of Hollywood's best actors working today.  Viola Davis, Terrence Howard, and Maria Bello, while good in the film, weren't used a lot and didn't really warrant the star power that the three actors have.  Paul Dano is great as the potential suspect of the kidnapping, and Melissa Leo is also great as Dano's oblivious and concerned aunt.  No bad performance is given in this movie at all, however you'll probably be talking about Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal when exiting the theater.

I give major props to director Denis Villeneuve and writer Aaron Guzikowski for making a gritty, tough as nails, and suspenseful movie that has twists and turns around any corner, almost all of which you will never see coming.  The acting is great, particularly from Jackman and Gyllenhaal, the story is gripping and keeps you invested, and it's just all around a fantastic movie.  Rarely do movies ever have me shaking upon exiting the theater, and "Prisoners" is one of those rare few movies that did just that.  "Prisoners" may just be the single most suspenseful movie of 2013 thus far, and it's highly worth a watch for the performances alone.


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