Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wednesday Movie Night: Prisoners (2013)

 The best thing about Prisoners is really Hugh Jackman's performance. Jackman seems to get fully into this character unlike many of his other roles, and apart from his Wolverine role this is really his best yet. It deserved more attention than it got. The movie also stars Jake Gyllenhal, which is good but as always not going to get me to pick up the movie, as well as Terrence Howard, and even Paul Dano, but Jackman is what makes the movie worth watching.

Summary: Keli Dover is celebrating Thanksgiving with his family and friends when his daughter and the neighbor's daughter go missing. There son Ralph instantly places the suspicious RV that was parked nearby as a suspect sending Detective Loki and Keli on the hunt for the man driving the RV. With no proof to link him to the crime it doesn't give the police much choice but to release him. Keli feels certain that he involved, and will stop at nothing, even if that means taking prisoners, to protect and find his daughter.

Acting: This movie is filled with familiar faces. Hugh Jackman stars as Keli, and gives his best performance I've seen that involves a lot of real emotions and makes him just a likable everyday guy. For those who are parents he will particularly resonate with them in how he cares for his daughter and her safety, and this brings him to even commit the most questionable of acts to look out for her safety. Jake Gyllenhaal is Detective Loki, and Loki balances all the chaos going on, even if it is a bit distracting that his name is that of one of a villain in a comic movie. Anyways, Gyllenhaal  also keeps us a bit in suspense with his role as well as it's tough to make out whether he is a good or bad guy from his demeanor. Paul Dano plays one of the instant suspects, Alex, and well does his best Dano, but if Dano hopes to expand he might want to avoid continually being the weirdo or bad guy even though he's good at it. Even in Ruby Sparks Dano doesn't feel like a good guy! Viola Davis also stars in the movie as the mom, Nancy, to the other girl who disappears, and Terrence Howard portrays her husband, Franklin. The couple give a dynamic to the movie as the families are debating what to do. Mario Bello is Keli's wife, who honestly does nothing much of the movie.

Filming:  The movie has a style that it's shot in that is very crisp, very clear, but maintains the dark vibe of the movie. For someone watching this movie in the peak of winter it does capture the winter and beyond that makes it grim. I've never seen a movie by Denis Vileneuve, but for the director this movie seems to be bringing him some great attention at least from movie going audiences. I think it has the emotions that resonates with the people watching, and it's in a way a lot of why people jumped on the wagon to see Taken I believe a couple of years ago as well. People just like the image of a man so passionate about protecting his family he'll do what he has to do to get things done.

Plot: The plot is very long with a two hour and thirty minute run length that I still don't know was justified in every way. Either the movie should have been shorter or longer, yes longer. There were parts of the movie that were threw in without enough explanation, like there is another guy that becomes the target of the police, but as you'll see his story is perhaps shortly explained, but the point never seems to resonate very well. Perhaps if they had shortened it they could have threw out that part all together, or lengthened it they could have given every aspect the proper depth. I feel they were in such a hang up on keeping us in suspense and making sure they sure gave away nothing too much remains secret. For most the best parts will be watching Keli work his hardest to find his daugther. There is just something about the way Jackman gets into this character and brings him to life that feels real.

Prisoners is a good movie from 2013. Honestly it's a shame it was so overlooked regarding awards. With time this director should really be able to hold his own though, but yet maybe the fact his name is so unknown proves why there is no attention. The movie has some patches that could be cleaned up, but really this is a slow paced, but compelling suspense.

Rating 8.5 of 10.

Prisoners (2013) on IMDb

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