Hugh Jackman is a desperate man. His and his best friend’s daughter have been kidnapped from their quiet Georgia neighborhood on a rainy Thanksgiving day. Jake Gyllenhaal, the brooding detective assigned to the case, doesn’t look like he’s giving 100% to finding them. So what does Hugh do? He locks up a suspect — a dude with a sketchy-ass RV with the IQ of a 10-year-old to boot (excellently played by Paul Dano) — in an abandoned apartment and tortures the hell out of him to find out where they are.
From scene one of Prisoners, my breath was shortened and my eyes were fascinated – a beautiful (seriously outstanding) piece of cinematography coupled with a stellar cast kept my attention for the seemingly unattractive 2hr 33min runtime. The gravity and immediacy of the subject matter, plus the disturbing nature of just how far a father will go to save his daughter, kept me on my toes and guessing at the truth.
This is the type of story where morals are tested; it’s a definite “what would you do?” slap in the face, especially for those who have young children of their own.
An orgy love-child of Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone, Heavy Rain (right – the video game), and The Lovely Bones, Prisoners will leave you morally exhausted and frustratingly tense. Enthralling and unsettling, it’ll make you think twice about sending your kiddies out to play.
Grade: 4.5 out of 5
Predicting nominations for Jackman and/or Gyllenhaal, as well as cinematography for Roger Deakins and *maybe* original screenplay. Director Denis Villenueve’s Hollywood studio debut.
Marissa has a blog with Eden Shulman, called Bitter Burnouts.