Prisoners (2013): Film Review

Tagline: “Every moment matters.”

Creepy, intense and haunting are just a few out of an entire array of chilling words that I could use to describe Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners. If you’re into suspense-filled films that make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up then you should definitely give this one a go. With Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal taking the lead roles, the movie unravels revealing an incredibly slanted puzzle which the viewer has to figure out one step at a time.

Jackman plays Keller Dover, who goes through the worst possible nightmare a parent could have – the kidnapping of his six year old daughter on Thanksgiving Eve, along with her friend. Gyllenhaal plays the vital role of Detective Loki, who leads the investigation and struggles to make sense of what is happening, doing his best to solve this mystery and bring the girls back to their homes safe and sound. As multiple leads develop and a prime suspect in the case, Alex Jones – played by Paul Dano – gets arrested, and later released due to lack of evidence, time is swiftly ticking away and pressure intensifies with each passing second. Dover takes matters into his own hands, but how far he will go is something I will let you discover on your own upon watching this masterpiece.

It’s been a really long while since I’ve sat through such a thoroughly enjoyable film at the cinema. Don’t get me wrong, the plot is absolutely dark and twisted, just the thought of this happening to me is terrifying. But the film is directed so unbelievably well that it almost makes you admire it in a way, despite all the wrongdoings involved in the plot. Paul Dano plays a spot-on possible perpetrator in such a fantastic way that it nearly sent shivers down my spine. The atmosphere is heavy and burdensome, and the lack of any background music certainly adds to this.

Equally enigmatic and deeply disturbing, the movie places a great deal of emphasis on the idea that every action has a reaction and you must be prepared to take responsibility for consequences which arise based on the choices you make. Periods of heavy showers, snow and icy-cold weather contribute to the grim, tense aura of this film – I can guarantee it will well and truly creep you out. It highlights family values but at the same time manages not to create a classic Hollywood sob story with a happy ending for everyone involved. And I won’t even start going into how mind-blowing the ending is!

Hugh Jackman delivers the audience what may well be the greatest performance of his acting career to date. Superb acting from the entire cast makes Prisoners a truly riveting film, which I would go so far as to say is the must-see motion picture of the year. It is a truly powerful drama-thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat, which I wholeheartedly recommend seeing.

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