Roze-Rating: 4 / 5
Prisoners is a suspenseful thriller that plays off the tragedy of two families and the dedication of one detective. The film follows two main protagonists, Jake Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman during their antagonizing search for two missing girls. They both offer compelling performances giving us a raw insight on how the mind works in situations illustrated in this. It’s a film about the lengths we would go to in order to protect our children, how far is too much? and is it really worth it in the end? Jackman portrays a man so consumed by his emotions that he takes matters into his own hands, ultimately committing the same crime he is mourning over. We’re left wondering if his actions are counterproductive as he neglects the very people that are in it with him. Gyllenhaal plays a cop with an 100% record for solving cases. From the go we know that he isn’t committing to a family or a girlfriend as he sits alone in a restaurant making small talk with a waitress. His exaggerated blinks expose his tiredness and accepting a call without hesitation reassures us that he’s a legitimate cop.
I can’t say I enjoyed this film as much as I wanted to. I found myself trying to connect with the characters and relate to their emotions a bit too hard. This could be down to not having kids myself but that being said I’ve definitely felt similar emotions having lost my little sister for a split second, not pleasant (bad brother). We’re introduced to the (going to be) lost children during the opening act and a lot of emphasis went to them allowing us to get to know them and ultimately tap into their parents emotions once they are missing. It’s executed perfectly as the suspense is heightened emphasizing their parents increasing fear. The following scenes are emotional as we see these two families searching for their children. Unfortunately for me what follows disconnected me from the film slightly. It starts to focus on Jackman’s character and his gradual surrendering to his dark emotions . His story is compelling but I felt we needed more insight to the other characters within the two families in order to get a well rounded sense of the family’s well being. Eventually I kind of forgot about them.
I would say this is more of a crime drama than anything else and that’s what I liked about it the most. The search is realistic, we never really know what’s happened til the end and the suspense is masterful. In terms of characters I resonated more with Gyllenhaal’s character more than any one else, I think you rarely see a film where you feel like your in the detectives shoes and this film explores that really well.. When his character is faced with the parents you feel for both of them since you can understand the frustration that’s expressed by the parents but you also sympathize for the detective for having to deal with aggression coming from the very people your busting your ass to help. I’ve not really seen that in cop films very much.
What really makes this film are the performances. Without the high caliber performances we wouldn’t be getting these raw emotion on screen pushing our emotional buttons. Hugh Jackman gets so intense I was just waiting for those wolverine claws to spring out. I mean this guy can be scary when he wants to. Jake Gyllenhaal is a total badass, from his no nonsense demeanor to his slick haircut. Little details like his hard blinking make his character real, great performance. A performance that may get overlooked is Paul Dano’s interpretation of a troubled kid slated as the main suspect for the kidnappings. I mean I’ve never felt sorry for a person that frustrates me and creeps me out at the same time. There’s a hint of innocence in that performance that I don’t think many people could do.
Prisoners may get frustratingly slow at times but it makes up for it with it’s gloomy tone and still camera work. The suspense will get your heart racing and the performances will engage you. Even though it may be a bit too long, it’s still worth a watch as one of the better dramas of 2013.