Saturday, 28 September 2013

Film Review - Prisoners

 A Must-Watch Taut Thriller

Film: Prisoners
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Melissa Leo
Directed by: Denis Villeneuve
Duration: 2 hrs 33 mins
Rating: * * * *

After making waves around the globe with Incendies (2010), director Denis Villenueve offers us yet another film that gives a lot to write home about. Prisoners is an intense film, even though it is on the longer side, it gets you hook, line and sinker. It gives you the same feeling when you read a highly engrossing novel, which you wish would never end.
Credit should be given to writer Aaron Guzikowski for the taut screenplay and of course director Villenueve who has been consistently making good films for the last decade or so.

Prisoners goes way beyond the usual action thrillers. It also deals with morality, predicament and guilt. Hugh Jackman plays Dover and one fine day, during a small celebration with friends, his young daughter goes missing. In fact his friend’s (Terence Howard) daughter has also vanished when the two were playing together. A young man who was sitting in an R.V. near the house is picked up as a suspect but he claims innocence and it turns out that he also has the I.Q of a ‘ten year old’. A bright police detective (Jake Gyllenhaal) is assigned the case and though there is no evidence against the suspect, Dover is convinced he is the culprit and has kidnapped the two girls.

Slowly, it all starts to get murkier as sex offenders are rounded up and the suspense starts building up   While it is largely the personal story of a father in desperate search of his daughter, the film throws in a lot of questions about what is right and wrong and what any individual would have done in that situation. And that is where Villenueve’s brilliance comes in as a director. When you think it is all said and done, he pulls the plug at the end with great precision.

There are times when you like the good guy and hate the suspected bad guy and moments later, it is the other way round. There is no absolute good or bad, such is the nature of man.

Excellently shot by veteran cinematographer Roger Deakins, the atmosphere adds to the effect. Prisoners is also a triumph for its actors. Melissa Leo as the aunt and Maria Bello as the grieving mother are aptly cast. Jake Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman both have delivered a remarkable performance. It’ll be surprising if an Oscar nomination doesn’t come there way.

 In toto, this film is not to be missed.

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