7. Prisoners
When cinematographer Roger Deakins is paired with the right director and material, there are few – if any – who can match him in his craft. The man has the ability to light and frame a scene that will make your jaw drop, be it capturing spikes of light coming in through a lone window in a dark basement or out in the woods watching snowfall collect on the ground. Deakins’ work on the child-abduction thriller Prisoners this year is among the best we’ve ever seen from him… and yet it’s only a part of what makes the film great.

Trapped in a mystery with a terrific number of horrific and exciting surprises, stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman are at the top of their game butting heads as a detective and a grieving father, respectively. Their performances are filled with raw energy and amazing nuance. On more than a few occasions, director Denis Villeneuve ratchets up the intensity level to uncomfortable levels, but its extremes only make the emotions more powerful and real. There is a palpable level of fear, pain and rage that comes with the mere idea of child abduction, and Prisoners brings it all to the screen in an intense, striking way. (Read my full review here.)

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