Suspense thrillers are no strangers to kidnappings, but Prisoners takes many of the elements of a suspense thriller and heightens them, creating a disturbing and graphic film that knows just where to draw the line, even when its characters don’t. Director Denis Villeneuve’s first big English release is likely to cause cringing and a pounding heart, but I doubt you’ll regret delving into it.
Prisoners hinges on the emotional complexities inherent when parents’ worst nightmares come to fruition. Two young girls are playing together in a relatively safe neighborhood on a holiday when they disappear. It doesn’t take long for the girls’ parents, played by Maria Bello, Viola Davis, Hugh Jackman and Terrence Howard, to discover they are missing, but by then the girls are long gone, and a twisted puzzle of a story stands in the way of the children’s safe return.
Jake Gyllenhaal plays the detective in the drama, and his performance is filled with intensity and plenty of affected nervous ticks. It’s incredible to watch him play a puzzle-solving character, an attribute similar to his character in Zodiac. Although Gyllenhaal’s character is equally intense this time around, there are enough differences with Gyllenhaal’s character that fans will feel this is a different movie.
As if the audiences eyes are focused on Gyllenhaal, anyway. Davis uses her large, sad eyes to great effect even with her small part, capably representing what tragedy can do to a person. However, it’s really Jackman’s Keller Dover who will keep audiences riveted to their seats. Dover is a man who refuses to give up, despite the red tape that a kidnapping case presents. He’s willing to cross lines and take chances, even when his family and his sanity are falling apart. If you are into suspense thrillers at all, this isn’t one to miss.
You can order Prisoners over at Amazon.
Best Special Feature: The extras are a little lackluster with the Blu-ray disc, consisting of two behind-the-scenes featurettes. The lengthier one of these is "Powerful Performances," a segment that looks at the cast dynamics with filming and the depth and emotion the actors were able to bring to the table during shooting. Honestly, if you opt to purchase this film, you shouldn’t do it because you like to peruse the extras afterwards.
Other Special Features:
"Prisoners - Every Moment Matters"