Director: Denis Villeneuve
I made a mistake of watching Prisoners alone. All I knew was it was supposed to be a crime thriller, but I didn’t expect to watch what I saw. I thought it was going to be similar to those kinds of movies Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal typical appear in. It wasn’t. It was a rather gritty, and had a very dark tone throughout, cutting out every inch of hope that we usually look for in depressing movies. Still, it’s one of those movies where it wasn’t drowned by the names of the people involved, rather it makes the crime stand out, and the desire to solve the puzzle unite the movie into one piece.
It was Thanksgiving, and the Dover and Birch families were enjoying their evening, when their youngest children suddenly go missing. One of the older children suggests that it might have been the RV parked alongside the neighborhood. The case was then assigned to Detective Loki, whose known to have not lost a case. When the RV was found, a suspect, Alex Jones, was taken away. However, without substantial evidence, he was set free. That’s when the movie abruptly splits into two. Keller Dover takes the manner in his own hands, in the only method he knows how. Meanwhile Detective Loki continues to pursuit his case, uncovering pieces of the puzzle that leads to the real culprit.
I liked how the movie kept its tone pacing, even for a movie that was a bit too long. A two and a half hour film of pacing around trying to put together pieces that were already exposed within the first thirty minutes of the film. What’s striking, however, is the emotions conveyed by the actors, that doesn't seem to overpower the plot, and compliment to it. While actors performances are usually supposed to stand out, Prisoners was made to be as such that all their performances, whether a physically brutal one by Hugh Jackman, or Jake Gyllenhaal’s rational façade, did not particularly stand out, but helped enhance the effect of the film. It wouldn't be gritty, or dark if it weren't for the different kinds of reaction we see on-screen. You have Jackman’s Keller Dover, who was a physical, go-getter, unstoppable kind of man, who would go through any lengths to get his daughter back. Then you have Gyllenhaal’s Detective Loki, who might look like nothing fazes him at all, but in fact there is an inner turmoil in him that taunts him. He knows he’s near to the answers but can’t quite get in them. There’s Terrence Howard and Viola Davis, whom also showed different reactions to the situation. There’s a variety of people experience the situation, and are all showing different reactions to it regardless of their position in society.