Friday, September 20, 2013
Hugh Jackman cements his position as one of top A list actors with his riveting performance in “Prisoners”. The opening scene is him teaching his son to shoot a deer and tells him “Be ready”. Keller Dover (Jackman) first appears to be a survivalist with a basement filled shelves of cans and packages as part of being ready. He seems to a Right Wing Conservative Christian who has been a recovering alcoholic for nine and a half years, praying on and off but little by little your first impression changes. He and his wife, Grace, (Maria Bello) with their 6 year old daughter Anna (Erin Gerasimovich) and son Ralph (Dylan Minnette) are having Thanksgiving dinner with Franklin (Terrence Howard) and Nancy (Viola Davis) Birch their 7 year old daughter Joy (Kyla Drew Simmons) and Eliza Birch (Zoe Borde). Afterdinner their two young daughters go outside only to disappear.
The first, and obvious, suspect is a mentally impaired man Alex (Paul Dano), who lives with his Aunt Holly Jones (Melissa Leo). The girls are seen playing and starting to climb his RV earlier. He lives, sleeping on a sofa bed, in his aunt’s home, her husband having left 5 years earlier. Loki, (Jake Gyllenhaal) the detective in charge of the case, who has solved every case he has been in charge of, is first seen eating his Thanksgiving dinner alone in a diner and next arresting and questioning Alex. He has to let him go as their is no evidence he is involved.
Keller believes Alex is guilty and wants to know where he has taken the girls and threatens to torture him until he confesses. He takes Alex off to a house in complete disrepair that he use to own and ties him up in a small room. He brings Franklin in with him who is repulsed by the whole idea but wants his child back. Needless to say both families are affected by the kidnapping and possible death of their children.
“Prisoners” is rated R for violence and there are a couple of scenes some will hide their eyes from watching it plus the “F” word seems to be a major part of Loki’s speech. There are a couple of unnecessary red herrings that makes the movie run 2 hours and 20 minute, a bit too long, but the director Denis Villeneuve, along with screenwriter Aaron Guzikowski, keeps the tension and suspense going with a somewhat ambiguous ending. Don’t let the violence deter from seeing the “Prisoners”.
The cast is first rate but it is Hugh Jackman’s picture and he takes it to the depths that very few actors could.