Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
The Purge: Anarchy
Wish I Was Here
Begin Again (Critics: 75% | Audience: 79%)
Tammy (Critics: 21% | Audience: 62%)
Earth to Echo (Critics: 55% | Audience: 64%)
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – (Rotten Tomatoes Prediction: Critics:85-95% | Audience: 85-95%)– Cinema Fix
All it took to sell me this film was monkey’s on horses, if they were to release a trailer of just the apes riding horses for a whole minute, I think I would still watch this film. Unfortunately this film looks even greater than monkey’s on horses, and that scares me because I hate going into films with high expectations. But I have a good feeling about this, as it looks greater in scale than “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” with the complex conflict between human and ape coming into play, Caesar seems even more conflicted perhaps sympathizing for humans downfall and the war scenes look incredible. Whatever happens I’m sure it will be one hell of a ride.
What makes this film so intriguing is how possible the premise is. I think most of us could admit that amongst our worst nightmares, accidentally mass emailing racy photos of ourselves would rank quite high on that list. Unless such photos don’t exist, then good on you, but who can resist nowadays with the emergence of the front side camera, snapchat and the increase of celebrity nudes. The way technology is going, soon being seen naked will be inevitable, as mentioned in the trailer, what even is the cloud?! The comedy seems to be going for a slapstick and sex jokes route, which is fine by me, therefore I will watch this film.
The Purge: Anarchy – (Rotten Tomatoes Prediction: Critics: 40-50% | Audience: 65-75%) – Cinema/Rental Fix (Depends what else is opening)
I was not a fan of the first film and couldn’t understand why a sequel was being made, especially with the less than complimentary response it attained. I mean the premise is pretty interesting and makes you think a little bit about how we are as a society surrounded by violence. But the execution was below par and for a thriller it was quite the opposite. Nevertheless The Purge: Anarchy potentially looks entertaining, with a change of formula, now taking the fight to the streets and casting Crossbones (Frank Grillo) as the lead. That being said it could still end up being a mess, but as long as it provides enough thrills to put us at the edge of our seats, it should easily improve on its predecessor.
One word springs to mind when watching the trailer, “ambitious”. It looks visually impressive and usually that alone would get me in the cinema but I get this feeling it will be all spectacle and no substance. I love The Rock and he will no doubt kick ass but what ultimately turns me off this film is his “I am Hercules!” line, it just comes off so flat and expressionless, I cant help but think he may not be as bad ass as I want him to be. Either way I’m sure it will be entertaining and the CGI monsters may just do the trick for some people.
Premature may look like your average teen gross out comedy judging from the unknown cast and budget production, and you would be right to assume that but it doesn’t matter because aren’t the point of comedy films to entertain you and make you laugh? Rob Crabbe (John Karna) is a normal teen coming to the end of high school, but just like any male teen he has fantasies, fantasies causing him to wake up with slimy boxers and an awkward mother telling him to put his own sheets in the wash after walking in on him. What Rob soon finds out is that whenever he releases his special sauce during the day, he lands right back in bed in the same awkward situation as before. Some would find it a burden but eventually Rob embraces it, which could potentially break him out of the “curse”.
I’ve seen enough of these B-movie comedies to know not to take them too seriously, or expect a lot out of them, but something about Premature sets it apart from the others. For one the premise is quite fun, it’s already been branded as Groundhog Day meets American Pie, and I’d say that seems quite accurate. It has the exact same format as Groundhog Day but takes a more gross out, cheap laugh root towards its comedy. That being said the jokes try not to be cheesy or overdone, and that’s probably down to the comedic timing and likability of the cast.
There’s something about Craig Roberts that makes me laugh, it could be his stone cold facial expressions, the fact I can’t help thinking he would look good in glasses or his hilarious delivery, whatever it is it makes me want to see more from him. Improv or not he has some hilariously memorable quotes. An example “It’s a scientific fact that your blood pressure drops when you orgasm, it’s like your balls are shooting yoga through your veins”, classic. He’s already starred in recent hits such as 22 Jump Street and Neighbors, so he must be doing something right. Alan Tudyk also makes a memorable appearance as a college admissions officer who happens to be a widower. I know it shouldn’t be funny but Tudyk somehow makes it funny, big fan of his after his appearance in Transformers 3. Also look out for Adam Riegler who looks as though he was pulled out from a Nickelodeon sit com, definitely a highlight of the film. As for John Karna, he is one of the few unknown leads, in these kind of films, that actually look promising for the future. He may not have done anything groundbreaking but at least I wasn’t trying to pretend he could act which is usually the case for these films, and he made me laugh multiple times which is the goal right?
If the film ever reaches your cinemas, I wouldn’t tell you to go spending money on a ticket, but I would tell you that if you’re like me and find it hard looking for new comedies to watch due to watching them all already, then this is a perfectly fun film for your weekend screen fix.
Emmet is your average construction worker living life by the rules, always sticking to the instructions enforced by president Business. What Emmet isn’t aware of is that his mind is capable of so much more than conforming with everyone around him, and that he has the potential to be just as special as the people he looks up to. Unaware of the coming onslaught of President Business and his Kragal, Emmet finds the “piece of resistance”, the key to saving the universe they live in.
Coming from the directors of “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” and the “21 Jump Street” franchise, The Lego Movie clearly have Phil Lord and Christopher Miller’s footprints embedded into it, from the quirky humor to the larger than life action sequences. Finally a film utilizing it’s ensemble cast to its full potential. Up and comer Chris Pratt is the highlight of the film, voice acting as Emmet, and for anyone who’s a fan of “Parks and Recreation”, will be pleasantly treated to a character with hints of Andy written all over it. We are also treated to the likes of Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Nick Offerman, Charlie Day, Alison Brie, Morgan Freeman and Will Ferrell, and other big name cameo’s on top of that. The cast may be large but they all have their moments providing laughs for both adults and kids.
The major highlight of this film has to be the animation which has reached new grounds making each piece of Lego look real enough to grab from the screen. As Lego should be, the aesthetics are colourfully glossy with no limits to imagination. The way the pieces move and assemble is masterfully animated, taking the old timers back to their childhoods and entertaining the kids, possibly giving them ideas for their next big creation. That is where this film succeeds, the Lego really are the stars of the film. Exuding a sense of nostalgia for the older audiences while creating an atmosphere of fun for everyone else.
Both Lord and Miller acknowledged that their first effort in film lacked heart and a true connection between audience and character, although Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs was a success for its humor, this time around they’ve successfully found the best of both worlds. What I like about this film is that they never forget what Lego is all about and what it represents and in a way it’s a homage to the toy itself. President Business (Will Ferrell) is the bad guy, enforcing rules and instructions on the public with the ultimate goal of making things permanent. The film illustrates the endless possibility of Lego and encourages imagination and individualism going beyond the instructions you’re given, despite it being based on Lego, it goes for all things in life and that’s as big a connection you can make with an audience.
On top of the messages, what makes this film one of the best of the year, are the little details representing the nuances of playing with Lego, making it so relatable and real. for example the odd manual sound effects as a detachable building floor flies away, or the use of everyday household objects as toys, clueless to what they’re actually for. It’s a definite must watch film of 2014, and has Academy Award nomination written all over it.
Llewelyn Moss is a Vietnam veteran living in the desolate lands of Texas. One day during a hunting session, he finds what would be a drug deal gone wrong. Along with dead corpses and a wounded man begging for water, he finds a black satchel with 2 million dollars inside. He takes the money and hides it in his house knowing people are going to be looking for it. His conscious gets the better of him as he wakes up in the middle of the night to bring water to the wounded man, a mistake as he gives vital clues to the one man with no morals when it comes to getting what he wants.
No Country For Old Men is an absolute gem of a film. For me, it ticks all the boxes for a perfect thriller with a wild west edge. As a shallow viewer it has enough suspense, violence and action to enthrall for the full viewing time. Even with its quiet, barren land demeanor. But for the sometimes sophisticated side of my brain, the narrative has enough substance for me to have come out with a much richer experience of the film.
As the title and opening monologue from old timer Sheriff Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) would suggest, it’s a film about the changing times. How a land which was once relatively safe has now become a harsh environment. Whenever we see the older generation on screen, they seem to be bogged down by unusual information or just odd behavior. A sign which says, times are more complicated and not as straight forward as before. Even for Sheriff Ed Tom Bell, he fails to put the pieces together quick enough to solve the drug deal gone wrong case. This isn’t to say he’s incompetent, he is the opposite, but it says that crime in the modern times are a lot more overwhelming.
The characters are also a great part of this film, the three main characters signify something different. We have the Sheriff who is an obviously good man. He has a loving wife and is also good at his job. Just like the old time’s, he’s laid back and composed but nothing less than a good person. There is the antagonist Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) who is a total psychopath, from the worst hair cut ever in film to his lack of remorse when killing people, he is the bad of the film. Since we are unaware of where he’s from and it’s apparent that he isn’t local, he seems to signify the unpredictability of modern evil and crime, sometimes referred to as a ghost. This may refer to the how the future is and what makes it so unsettling. He has no moral compass but believes in the power of fate, apparent from his coin toss game. As for Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin), he is right bang in the middle, as Uncle Ellis refers to some of his cats as half wild or outlaws. Moss is your every man, he’s been through a lot and understands the harshness of life. I like how he looks at the money with no expression and sighs “yeah” as if he already knows what he’s getting into but can’t protest against it. There’s some form of inevitability to it.
This film really is a cat and mouse thriller. Except the mouse is a cat too. Predator vs predator. It’s refreshing because we have characters who aren’t stupid. They’re all intelligent and know how to cover their tracks, they know how to defend themselves and when it comes to doing the deed, they can do it. Just as you think a character is missing something they respond with intelligence. It’s awesome to watch a film where you find it hard to criticize characters decisions but instead be left wondering “why didn’t I think of that”.
As for performances, well you have Javier Bardem in one of his first major English roles and will probably stand as his best for awhile. Think Silva from Skyfall but even crazier. I like that opening scene of him where he’s strangling that cop, just from his facial expressions you can tell that he’s a heartless bastard and it’s not the first time he’s attempted to kill someone. As good as Bardem is, Brolin totally knocks it out of the park for me. There’s something about his portrayal of the character. He’s just so slick and such a guy, a guy we all wish we could be. If I could pull off boots and a cowboy hat, I would, wouldn’t have to think about it, I’d be walking around looking like a total badass. (Brolin) “you got socks”, (Shopkeeper) “We only have white”. (Brolin) “That’s ok, whites all I wear”, that’s what it means to be a man right there. Tommy Lee Jones is business as usual and it was nice seeing some Woody Harrelson as well to make up a really great cast.
This was totally deserving of the Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Javier Bardem) Oscars. A film back in the day that I wouldn’t have wanted to watch, purely because it’s absent of music. Thanks to more appreciation for films, that lack of music only adds to the film, putting us in the west with the characters and surprisingly adding suspense to the films more thrilling scenes. No Country For Old Men is truly a great film.
I chose to watch the remake before the original and immediately regretted that decision after realizing that this isn’t your average revenge flick. It’s a lot darker and filled with more surprises than I first anticipated. Going into the original knowing the general storyline and plot diminished the effect of the first half of the film, luckily due to changes in the remake there were still a few pleasant surprises and twists that I didn’t see coming. I think if I would have been a bit smarter and chose to watch the original first I would have instantly loved it.
The initial reasoning behind watching the remake first was to give it a fair chance so that I wouldn’t be comparing the two constantly, but this is just one of those films where this can’t be prevented. Firstly the story is unique providing plenty of plot twists to keep us guessing. Once knowing these twists, it’s hard to stop waiting for them to happen in the original. Luckily the remake didn’t stay completely true to the original and made a few plot changes but those were the only changes made. That’s what makes the remake incredibly pointless in my opinion. It didn’t offer anything new, apart from a western cast and a neo-noir tone. Why remake a film and change virtually nothing about it. Usually what you’d like to see in a remake is perhaps a unique style true to the director or something different creatively but the 2013 version felt lackluster and ultimately not worth filming especially when you have a pretty perfect counterpart.
Oldboy (2013) – Roze-Rating: 3 / 5
We’re introduced to Joe Doucett leaving a lunch meeting drunk, what first seems acceptable turns unacceptable as he urinates in public and adds more booze into a soda cup before returning to work. He later shouts at his wife for nagging him to attend his daughters 3rd birthday party and hits on his clients wife who has no interest in him. It’s safe to say that he isn’t a pleasant man at all. We’re not meant to like him but we can tell that not even he likes himself as he spits at a mirror while staring at his reflection. He seems to have given up on himself. After a booze filled night he’s snatched off the street and awakens in an unfamiliar room which he’s trapped in.
We don’t really get a sense of that revenge until he is released from the room. Whilst in the room it’s more about his self improvement and redemption in order to be worthy of his daughters forgiveness when he is let out. I suppose that is what prevents him from going insane.
Without giving anything away this film tackles some dark themes which would make a lot of people feel uncomfortable, but this film lacked grit and an appropriate tone to support it. It felt too mainstream and lacked style, the cinematography, characters and locations felt generic which ruined what was supposed to be an eerie film about revenge. Instead it came off as your average blockbuster film.
What I liked about this film was the added noir tone. It felt appropriate during the scenes where Brolin and Olsen are trying to figure out who trapped him in that room. But then there would be an abrupt change in tone during Brolin’s hammer to skull combat scenes. Sometimes it would feel out of place especially the iconic hallway tracking shot. It was always going to be a hard scene to pull off and unfortunately it looked awkward. Having not seen the original before this, I can say that was my first reaction. Brolin was awesome but the extra’s made the scene feel gimmicky with over the top reactions and unrealistic movements, some moments were cool but others were off. Talking about extra’s, they seemed to burden the film with below par acting. Not only the iconic fight scene but a couple of flashbacks too. If someone points a shotgun at you, I’m pretty sure you’d flinch, at least a little bit.
Josh Brolin proves to be one of the few positives coming out of this film , showing that he can be a strong lead and carry a film. Another positive is Sharlto Copley, now cementing his status as king of accents. It may be slightly off in this film but his stiff interpretation of Brolin’s mysterious enemy makes him an intriguing character. It was interesting seeing Elizabeth Olsen for the first time, it gave me the chance to see if she’s Avengers worthy. She was solid but maybe due to the script she felt monotone. We don’t really sense her troubled past or any hardship, the only time we sense it is when it’s spoon fed to us or the first scene we see her with Brolin where she’s wearing a scruffy torn T-shirt, then minutes later we see her wearing a nice blazer. The only thing that signified to me was whether she was homeless or not, not every druggie has a torn up shirt!
Oldboy (2004) – Roze-Rating: 4.5 / 5
Oh Dae Su is an obvious alcoholic as we’re introduced to him at a police station being a nuisance. He says all he does is try to get through the day, which suggests he struggles in life and in a way might have already given up. He may be unhappy but he shares a sweet spot for his daughter despite continually being absent from her life. From the opening we know he’s done some bad things and may not be a pleasant person. Before we know it he’s been picked up from the side of the street and trapped in a room.
Compared with the newer version, the transition to his entrapment is a lot quicker, you could say the remake spoon feeds the audience the plot and also gives us a more direct interpretation of the character. With Oh Dae Su we can understand him the way we want to. There’s more emphasis on his growing insanity within the room which the remake didn’t touch on, to put the cherry on the top there’s an explanation to why he never gave in to the insanity which is what I was wondering the whole time. When he’s released he saves a man from committing suicide but it becomes apparent that he hasn’t completely changed, he still lacks compassion but he’s fitter and driven with only revenge on his mind. In that respect there is more emphasis on revenge which the remake didn’t have.
Themes of vengeance are relevant throughout the film, when we learn more about the person who trapped Dae Su. We learn the extent to which revenge can go and what holding a grudge can do to a man. For Dae Su, remorse slowly creeps in on him once he figures out who the mystery man is.
Performances are great from everyone in the cast. The lead Min-sik Choi is phenomenal, a character which will stay with me for a long time. He finds the perfect mix of grit, anger and insanity. Gang Hye-Jeong plays the female supporting role convincingly, we buy into her loneliness and hurt, making her a character we believe in. Playing the mystery man is Ji-tae Yu who is portrayed as this charismatic, suave, insane, evil man. In terms of antagonists, this is as good as it gets.
The blend of violence and dark humour is emphasized by the films overall offbeat tone. It gives the film consistency and style which the remake lacked. The screenplay is also better with narration, memorable quotes and metaphoric messages that move the narrative along nicely. There’s no question to why this is a cult classic, I’ve not seen a film as interesting, fast paced and intense as this in a long time.
The original is miles better than Spike Lee’s remake. I’m all for a remake, but only if it’s justified. Foreign films have been adapted before, it’s not uncommon, but usually there’s a unique spin on them. For instance Prince Avalanche and The Departed. What makes the original so much better is the script, it has all the plot holes filled which the remake had. I don’t understand why you would take a film with a perfect story line and change little things like making the protagonists imprisonment 20 years instead of 15. Little things that create plot holes. As for the characters, as good as Josh Brolin is, he doesn’t come close to beating Min-sik Choi and his awesome hair. But even overall the characters are richer in the original. I didn’t like Elizabeth Olsen’s take on the female role at all. I didn’t buy into her vulnerability as much as Gang Hye-Jeong’s Mido. As for the antagonist, Sharlto Copley was absolute gold but it didn’t feel appropriate for a film like Oldboy, he felt gimmicky. Ji-tae Yu was just as suave as Copley but his anger and desire for vengeance felt real, you almost feel for the character. Overall Chan Wook Park’s film smashes the remake… in the skull… with a hammer.
Rush is based on the true rivalry between Formula 1 drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda during the racing season of 1976. It’s a story about two sportsmen with different outlooks on life and racing. Despite their seeming hatred of each other, there’s one thing that set’s them apart from other rivalry’s, they respect the effect it has on their lives.
What makes this film great is the attention to detail given to make this true story as real as possible on the big screen. If you are unaware of this rivalry and Formula 1 in general then I wouldn’t advise to go looking up the story. For me, not knowing anything about these two guys made it a much more thrilling watch. Your constantly wondering how far these drivers will push themselves to win, and whether or not they will go too far. It definitely makes that last race an edge of the seat moment. After the film though, having done some research and youtube-ing, it’s quite remarkable how much detail went into this film. From the costumes to the accents, almost everything about this film is spot on. Of course parts of the film are dramatized but it’s essential to telling this story as effectively as possible.
The casting is great, as a result of this we get two of the best performances of 2013. Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl don’t only look like the famous drivers they are portraying but sound like them too. Hemsworth captures the bad boy persona of James Hunt perfectly, with a you-only-live-once swagger. You buy into his character because he doesn’t race because of the lifestyle it brings, he races because it supports the lifestyle he lives. He respects the dangers of F1, therefore sympathizing for the men that get into accidents every season. Niki Lauda of course is the complete opposite. Bruhl presents Lauda as a cold, calculated racing driver, always acting on statistics and not emotion. If a fellow driver spins out or crashes, he shows no compassion but criticize their technique. He may sound like an antagonist but his conflicting behavior between winning and actual happiness gives us a reason to care for this character.
The cinematography is brilliant throughout the film, giving us the perspective of the driver during these relentless races. It makes the racing scenes more of an adrenaline inducing experience. As for it’s overall look, the shiny shades of orange and colour filtering make it great to look at. It feels as if we are in the 1970s as well as watching a documentary about it. Everything from the camera angles and the colours used to the back commentary and interviews.
It’s definitely one of the best rivalry stories I’ve seen on film. I like how the story doesn’t make the rivalry dirty or unpleasant but rather inspiring for both drivers. They use it as a way to push each other harder, a way to learn from each other and ultimately a way to feel alive. During the journey of the season, we realize that there’s a lot more respect within the rivalry than we think. That’s what makes the final scene quite a compelling moment.
As the title would suggest this film is drenched in filth. Bruce Robertson (James McAvoy) is a corrupt Scottish detective with an addiction to sex, drugs and alcohol. With a possible promotion on the horizon we see him parade about partaking in what he calls “games” in order to undermine and manipulate his competition, instead of solving a recent murder which could actually get him the promotion. What follows is a darkly comedic series of events which bring out Robertson’s deeper problems which could explain why he acts the way he does.
Filth is one of those films that only the British could execute with perfection. Mostly because I can’t think of a nation which could make talking about the statistics of fellatio as hilarious as the Scottish. This is a film that takes dark humor to the brink of acceptable as we see Robertson blackmail a minor for oral then comparing her to a cheese grater seconds into it. Despite everything wrong about this character, we’re still intrigued by him. He may be a disgusting man but all we need as an audience to not be completely repelled by a character is a glimmer of human emotion. This gives us enough hope to root for a character, and for Robertson there’s enough hurt there for us to at least suspect a chance for this character to change.
That glimmer of hope comes from small subtle hints that he was once a family man, but due to certain circumstances they are no longer around. He uses the drugs, sex and alcohol to repress those hurt feelings. Once this becomes more evident about half way into the film, we start to understand Robertson and why he’s become addicted to all these substances. Props to James McAvoy for a committed performance executing Robertson’s development from mad to completely mad with conviction. A performance which is weirdly familiar to Trance, although that character develops in the opposite way. We see him as a normal person until the end where his fragility is exposed. What is similar between these characters is that we change our opinions on them right at the end. That’s what makes this film so great, it’s one of the better character pieces of recent years.
On top of the engaging narrative, we’re presented with a film that looks great and has an awesome soundtrack which gives Robertson a rock star persona. It also doesn’t fail to continually shock and surprise us with gross out humor and a deep look into a broken character. It’s larger than life and never slows down. Where it wont disappoint, is how much fun you’ll have watching it.
Richie Furst (Justin Timberlake) used to have a job on Wall Street until the economic meltdown forced him out of the business. To make his way back up to a high paying job again, he refers university students to an online gambling website to finance his masters degree. After getting caught and threatened to be kicked out of Princeton, Furst carelessly bets his money away on an online poker site with hopes of gaining enough winnings to pay his tuition fees. He soon discovers that he had been beaten unfairly and goes straight to the source to rectify it, Ivan Block (Ben Affleck).
Runner Runner was probably the longest hour and a half film that I’ve sat through this year, which says a lot. It’s disappointing as the film has a promising premise. The opening initially set up the potential for a decent flick but its intelligent characters ultimately didn’t fit in with the shallow narrative.
The film could have been genuinely thrilling as it had the ingredients for an explosive thriller. It had interesting characters and an uncommon premise. But the film feels bland as it has no particular direction or form of development. Ultimately it’s a film telling a series of events. What it needed was more emphasis on Richie and even Rebecca (Gemma Arterton), as the film covers the themes of greed and entrapment within the criminal world. They grow as characters but Runner Runner doesn’t even explore these themes or even the development of these characters. In the end we don’t really know who Richie is.
He’s obviously attracted by the prospect of high finance and because of that he doesn’t do the most ethical things. Although he believes in fair gaming in the business sense and is also a business wiz, yet we see him partake in immoral forms of business negotiations. There’s contradictions in his values because of money. So I was expecting some form of change from his character once sh*t got real, but only until he sees his life in danger does he change, but that’s a totally meaningless reason. The only meaningful moment in the film is when Richie’s dad tells him to leave him behind since he’s been a “dead man walking for 15 years”. That is the only defining moment where Richie realizes greed’s negative effect. But by that time, it’s way too late.
The only positive within this film is Gemma Arterton (duuh) and the locations. Both are stunning and sun kissed. The cinematography is colourful and glossy which make’s Runner Runner easy on the eyes. That being said we should have seen more of Arterton, not because she wears those dresses flawlessly (probably accounts for quarter of my rating) but because I think her character could have had a bigger impact on the story. Though it still would have taken more to improve this flick.
Sarah Moss (Brit Marling), former FBI agent, starts her new career at an intelligence agency forcing her to go undercover and collect information from anarchist group The East. All members of the group carry aggression against massive corporations that harm the environment around them. Determined to make an example of their careless actions they plan a number of “jams” to expose their true contributions to the world. During her undercover work Sarah grows attached to the groups cause, although disagreeing with their methods.
The East is as much a political thriller as it is a study of humans in modern society. Throughout the film we contemplate who the bad guys are, who we should root for and our way of life. We are presented with two sides, self righteous anarchist group The East with good intentions but questionable actions and the corporations who on the surface look like they want to aid the world but ultimately want to help themselves. At first one side seems the obvious bad guy as they are branded as terrorists but once we get to know them as individuals and their reasons we question the word terrorist. They may not do anything drastic as all they want to do is give the corporations a taste of their own medicine (LOL) but eventually the seeming leader of the group (Alexander Skarsgard) gets too deep into the cause.
It may not be as thrilling as you’d like it to be but it does hold some thought provoking questions backed up with fascinating scenes exposing an idealistic view of human life. For that reason this film is an enticing watch. One scene that got to me was a quite freaky but weirdly beautiful scene of the group eating at dinner, once you see it you’ll understand. The film holds an eerie tone from the ghostly score to the bleak cinematography. It looks and sounds fitting to its premise and message giving these scenes of human nature more than it appears.
It really is a film of moral high ground, leaving it to us to make our own choice about who takes that place at the top. Although towards the end it may have chosen for us. I felt it had too much of a Hollywood ending; it just didn’t fit the ambiguity of the film. Nevertheless the themes of human nature, relationships and politics make it an enjoyable film.
Despite having to strain my ears to understand some of the actors, the performances were solid. I felt there was too much mumbling and not enough projection in their speech but maybe I’m going deaf from all these loud action films nowadays. Anyways kudos to Brit Marling, previously saw her in Arbitrage playing a minor role. After researching more about her I learnt that this is her third written project, previous projects being Another Earth and Boxers & Ballerinas, which brings me to the assumption that she is massively talented. I’ve not seen all of her films but I look forward to it as she’s done a great job acting but also co-writing this film. She’s more than eye candy but someone with real potential in both the written and acting side of film. Her character has substance, she has a hard exterior but sees arrogance as a weakness; I like how she was branded as perhaps “not soft enough” for The East. In the end that balance gives her a greater moral conclusion to the problems expressed. I’d also like to see Toby Kebbell in more things, loved him in Rock’n’Rolla.
If you liked The International (Clive Owen) but thought it was too out there, then this film will bring you back to earth and maybe even further.
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.
Tim Ferriss's 4-Hour Workweek and Lifestyle Design Blog. Tim is an author of 5 #1 NYT/WSJ bestsellers, investor (FB, Uber, Twitter, 50+ more), and host of The Tim Ferriss Show podcast (400M+ downloads)