2013 Movie Reviews: Prisoners


Much like The Croods, I got this movie at my local library. Everybody was buzzing about it back when it was first released, but since then, the heat has died down. But, it got an Oscar Nomination, so I checked it out. People were calling this film “horrifying” and “an intense thriller.” And while I didn’t find the film that scary, It did manage to hold my attention until the very end.

Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) and his family go to a neighbor’s house for Thanksgiving, but after dinner, his daughter and their neighbor’s daughter mysteriously disappear. Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) is put on the case, but knowing that his daughter may be close to death, Keller does everything he can, transforming himself from a holy man to a sinner in the process.

Now let me say something right now. I am not a big fan of the whole mystery/thriller genre. It’s like Winter’s Bone. I don’t know what it is for me, but seeing this kind of story in a movie just rubs me the wrong way. Just the fact that this movie is so long and complicated, and there are all these characters and subplots to remember. It kinda reminds me of Batman: Arkham City. Hey… wait a minute. Imagine this movie as a video game. You switch between playing as Keller and Loki. You’re moving around the town talking to everybody. You take down clues in your notebook. I’d play that game, how about you?

The film mostly plays out this way and feels a bit too long. However this movie has exactly two hidden graces. The first is, of course the cinematography. As I said in my previous post, I’m taking a film studies class, and right now we’re studying what makes good cinematography. And this is good cinematography. The whole film is shot both gorgeously and hauntingly, particularly any scenes involving extreme long shots and/or silhouettes.

Now, check out this page on B+ Movie Blog. I favorite him, he’s cool. But he just posted a page that talked about the Best Male Performances of the year, and Hugh Jackman was #1 on that list. I thought he just really liked the movie. But… oh my God. In a year filled to the brink with spectacular performances, Hugh Jackman manages to grab you and never let go. It’s a performance that needs to be seen to be believed. How did this guy not get any awards recognition?

Outside from those two aspects, Prisoners is a long but enjoyable film. The film doesn’t do anything really wrong. It knows what it wants to be, and it does it’s job well. But I’m not a big fan of movies of this genre, and the film does drag on a bit. Hopefully I’m not the only one who thinks this story would be better as a video game.


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