SYNOPSIS: How far would you go to protect your family? Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) is facing every parentís worst nightmare. His six-year-old daughter, Anna, is missing, together with her young friend, Joy, and as minutes turn to hours, panic sets in. The only lead is a dilapidated RV that had earlier been parked on their street. Heading the investigation, Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) arrests its driver, Alex Jones (Paul Dano), but a lack of evidence forces his release.
As the police pursue multiple leads and pressure mounts, knowing his childís life is at stake the frantic Dover decides he has no choice but to take matters into his own hands. But just how far will this desperate father go to protect his family?
REVIEW: This masterpiece is directed by Denis Villeneuve, whose work is mostly known in the area of independent films, and is filled with lots of mystery, emotional roller-coasters, deception and nearly impossible twists that test the strength of our will to see the story through to the end. It plays out like a crime novel, with twists that revert back on themselves and red herrings that end up revealing more than anyone imagined. Itís the type of story that has mostly, in recent years been confined to television, in my opinion. With its length (runtime 153 mins) the movie sometimes felt like a television miniseries, but thereís a particular cinematic quality to it. I would say some of that quality comes from the star-caliber of its leading cast, but some of it comes from the way the frame is used to express space and timing throughout the movie. This isnít a movie that requires the big screen, to captivate audiences and Villeneuveís choices of venue and time of year with chilly, empty winter sceneries that become a focal point adding texture and angst to story, is an unstoppable force here.
Adding to the quality of this flick is writer Aaron Guzikowski being behind the script. It is simply like no other in recent memory. Nobody writes films like this anymore, where characters have lives outside the frame, where every character feels like their own person and has a chance to show that. Moreover, it is a movie that is so skillfully written that it keeps you constantly guessing. Heís able to allow each new piece of information to re-contextualize the information you thought you had previously. The twists never feel like cheats, but more like the next logical (if un-guessable) link in a labyrinthine chain of events. And when it comes to the end and what you thought you had been so smart to figure it all out, it then turns out to be far from what you thought.
Overall, for more than two hours this is a gripping, twisty and exciting story. It is simply a masterpiece rarely found in big screen format. As it is Prisoners is an excellent film, with extraordinary, gripping filmmaking and casting. I donít say this very often, but Iím actually very excited to see this flick again. If it was at all possible with my scoring, I would give the flick more than five stars. However, I grade up to five and this movie gets my highest grade: Five out of five stars, for great filmmaking, mystery and intrigue.
By Movi-Man Stan
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