Nathan Weissbock, Contributor Ω
Directed by Canadian Denis Villeneuve, Prisoners is the story of the disappearance of two young girls. Both of their fathers (Hugh Jackman and Terrence Howard) are naturally distraught and are desperately trying to find out what happened to them.
The ambitious dads are quick to find a suspect named Alex Jones (Paul Dano), who seems to secretly and ambiguously admit to the kidnapping. Unfortunately, the detective on the case (Jake Gyllenhaal) doesn’t have enough evidence to keep the man detained, despite the protests from the fathers.
So, they take matters into their own hands.
They kidnap the alleged kidnapper and, through brutal means, try and interrogate him to reveal the whereabouts of their daughters.
Prisoners attempts to be a whodunit-style movie that keeps some viewers wondering, from start to finish. Prompting the audience to ask where the children are, and if Jones actually had anything to do with the kidnapping.
Viewers are presented with puzzles and clues that are engaging throughout this intense drama. A word of warning: there are a few disturbing scenes that will cause the audience to squirm.
An interesting twist in the film is that Jackman’s character is a little bit crazy himself. Dano, who plays the suspected kidnapper, does a great job portraying a very eerie, creepy character. He is a young adult with the social skills and intelligence of a young boy who is emotionally detached from society. At times the audience hates Alex Jones, and other times they feel sympathetic towards him.
Prisoners gives what one can assume is a relatively realistic portrayal of the emotions that families might actually go through when put in this horrible situation. The emotion can make it difficult to sit through at times, however this isn’t really a negative for the movie, as the discomfort is what makes the film so real.
The one downside to this film is that it is just so predictable, despite the characters being so well-written.
Prisoners is a great film, despite the predictability, thanks to superb acting on Jackman’s part and an emotional pull that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats.