Harrowing Search for Two Missing Girls
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal,
Maria Bello, Terrence Howard,
Viola Davis, Paul Dano
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Runtime: 149 minutes
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures/Time
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Executive Producer: Edward McDonnell, John H.
Starke, Mark Wahlberg, Robyn
Meisinger, Stephen Levinson
Producer: Broderick Johnson, Andrew A.
Kosove, Kira Davis, Adam
Writer: Aaron Guzikowski
Address Comments To:Jeffrey L. Bewkes, CEO
Kevin Tsujihara, Chairman/CEO
Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. (New Line Cinema)
Greg Silverman and Sue Kroll, President
Warner Bros. Pictures
4000 Warner Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91522-0001
Phone: (818) 954-6000
The movie stars Hugh Jackman as Keller Dover, a recovered alcoholic turned devoutly Catholic family man, a carpenter struggling for work. When his young daughter and her best friend disappear on Thanksgiving, he loses his bearings and begins a maniacal search for her. His search escalates into seriously questionable behavior when he himself kidnaps the lead suspect after police release him without charges. He holds Alex prisoner and proceeds to beat him up repeatedly to get him to talk.
Meanwhile, a dogged policeman named Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) leads the search for the girls and starts to notice that Keller is acting strangely while disappearing for long hours at a time. He doesn’t yet realize that Keller has taken Alex hostage.
The question becomes, who will find the missing girls first? The detective or the angry father?
PRISONERS is one of the most intense, harrowing movies to be released in a long time. Every performance is expertly rendered, with Jackman and Gyllenhaal turning in some of the best work of their already impressive careers. Director Denis Villeneuve ratchets the tension to high levels throughout the movie without allowing the story to become over the top and risk slipping into pulp fiction territory.
While the movie is riveting throughout, there are a couple of plot holes and inexplicable character motivations that prevent PRISONERS from being the full-bore classic it might have been. The movie also goes on too long and doesn’t give viewers any down time in between what seems like several different very intense endings.
PRISONERS forces viewers to consider what choices they would make in the same situation of having their child kidnapped, as well as whether they could maintain their own faith under those circumstances. [Spoilers Follow] It turns out that the villain says they lost their faith when their son died of cancer. So now, the villain says, they are waging a war against God by taking children away from other parents. In the end, however, the father seems to regain his Christian faith in God, though he also suffers some bad consequences for his actions in torturing the one suspect.
PRISONERS is not an easy movie to watch and will prove difficult for many to handle. Besides the intense storyline, it contains lots of strong foul language and some very strong, extreme violence. So, despite its positive references to Christian prayer and moral sentiments, extreme caution is advised.
PRISONERS is one of the most harrowing movies in a long time. Every performance is expertly rendered, especially Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal as the father and the detective. PRISONERS forces viewers to consider what choices they would make in the same situation of having their child kidnapped. Ultimately, the movie becomes a battle of faith versus non-faith. The villain reflects the father’s growing lack of faith. Their confrontation is what helps the father regain his faith. Extreme caution is advised, however.