With Hugh Jackman recently fulfilling a role in the highly-successful “Les Miserables” and Jake Gyllenhaal coming off the back of “Source Code”, there were high expectations for “Prisoners”. But does the film live up to the buzz it has created?
Directed by Denis Villeneuve, the film begins with the Dover and Birch families meeting to celebrate Thanksgiving. However, the two youngest daughters of the families, Anna Dover (Erin Gerasmiovich) and Joy Birch (Kyle Drew Simmons), disappear and it quickly looms on the families that they have been kidnapped.
When the police investigation into their disappearance, led by Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal), doesn’t appear to be going anywhere, Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) takes matters into his own hands, as the pressure mounts.
Considering the film’s 153 minute running time, “Prisoners” manages to sustain the audience’s attention for its entirety. The fairly quick pace of the film means key scenes are never far away and the suspense throughout captivates viewers until the chilling climax.
This is greatly assisted by excellent acting performances from Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal. Jackman makes his on-screen presence felt in every scene, as viewers see a darker side to the charming father figure introduced at the beginning of the film. Meanwhile, Gyllenhaal excellently portrays Detective Loki, who starts the film as a man disconnected from his emotions, though soon finds himself enamoured in the mystery.
Not only does Prisoners contain great acting performances, but brilliant cinematography too. Key conversations between characters and shots of the changing weather conditions stand out and are especially noticeable when suspense is being built during the film. Also adding to the film’s suspense is the soundtrack. Its underlying tones heighten the tension and will send shivers down the viewer’s spine.
Another stand-out feature of the film is the excellent script-writing. Like all good crime thrillers, Prisoners will keep viewers guessing until the very end, as they are led down multiple routes and through the many suspects. However, while the film ties up the vast majority of its loose ends, the open-ended climax will have viewers leaving the cinema with their own interpretations.