Saturday, October 19, 2013

Movie Review ... Prisoners


prisoners poster‘Prisoners’ poses moral questions few movies rarely ask.  How one would react in certain circumstances? How far we would go? The answers are disturbingly realised in ‘Prisoners’.  Directed with steely intensity by Denis Villeneuve, the dark exploration of sex offenders and how their actions shatter lives is finely handled.  Actors deliver sterling renditions of characters caught in this quagmire while hunting an elusive foe.

When his young daughter and friend go missing, Keller (Hugh Jackman) becomes frantic.  Fearing the worst he turns to police detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) for help.  Chasing leads and identifying potential suspects, Loki’s efforts continually hit a dead-end.  Determined to discover what happened, Keller takes matters into his own hands.  With time running out and tension mounting, the search for the truth takes many unexpected turns.

‘Prisoners’ continually grips despite often being difficult viewing.  This is due to a compelling story allowed to breathe.  This is a slow-burning movie with each clue building the foreboding atmosphere.  In their own ways, the characters become what they most fear.  All are trapped within their own prisons due to rage, guilt, fear or determination.  Those qualities drive their agenda with varying degrees of personal devastation.

Villeneuve ensures there is no room for compromise which assists in maintaining realism.  Everyone lives in a continually bleak world with good news a rarity.  The great cinematography and score highlight supports the overall storyline and mood.  Gyllenhaal and Jackman play their characters admirably with great performances that don’t become melodramatic.  You genuinely feel their angst at their various discoveries as the line between becoming a crusader or monster increasingly blurred.

Despite exploring harsh themes ‘Prisoners’ is compelling.  Raising issues demanding to be questioned, making audiences think about what’s on screen is a marker any quality production should try to reach.


Movie Review Rating out of 10:  8

Movie Review by Patrick Moore

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