This story spoke to me not only as a father, but as a hard core moviegoer. The visuals and score are downright haunting, seeping their way under your skin almost immediately. Thereís a foreboding sense of danger in the air that never seems to lift, and itís this type of electricity that keeps your ass on edge from start to finish. I dig Keller (Jackman) as a character, but I could feel him as a fatherly figure. I could feel his desperation, and most importantly, his wrath. His whole survivalist angle is a little questionable, but his tenacity and iron will are legendary. Yes, it would be easy to Ďthinkí you heard the kid mumble something like Ďthey didnít cry until I left themí, but the fact that he did hear something, and knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that something was off and was willing to do whatever it takes to get his daughter back was awesome. It make me think of the saying, ďHow many men would you kill to save the ones you love?Ē The answer? All of them.
The acting is what really elevates this film to the highest levels. Hugh Jackman is brilliant. If ever there was a doubt that this man deserves to be where his is (I know there isnít at this point, but just in case), this performance will put that to bed. There are so many great moments, but my favorite is when heís sitting in the car with Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) talking about every minute wasted is a minute his daughterís wondering why heís not there. That sentence doesnít do the scene justice by any stretch, but trust me, itís powerful. Iím also a huge Jake Gyllenhaal fan (DONNIE DARKO baby!), and he was on fire here too as the detective in charge. He owns every scene heís in, but I loved the smile on his face when he goes to the door of a dude heíd chased down earlier, I wonít get into it, but the scene itself is fantastic. The rest of the cast do their part, some good, some a bit wasted, but the acting is solid all around.
PRISONERS was my favorite flick of the year, but thatís not to say there wasnít a couple faults worth mentioning. (SLIGHT SPOILERS) The whole red herring dude, who was abducted but let go, subplot was a little bumpy at best. It felt a little forced, and a little too well timed. The dead guy at the church was also similarly misplaced. I get the relevance, I get the idea, and I understand how it all plays together, but I just think it could have been a bit tighter. Also, Iím not a hundred percent fond of the ending either. I liked it, but I didnít like the Ďleave it to the imaginationí angle, nor do I like the idea of Keller going to jail if and when they find him. I get that he kidnapped someone, and/or tortured him for info, but he actually had info. He was part of it. I would think that in light of these off-the-wall circumstances, theyíd be able to cut the guy some slack, but thatís just me. Small grievances aside, this is still one hell of a ride you canít afford to miss.
Behind the Scenes: PRISONERS Ė Powerful Performances: This is where the film shines, with Jackman and Gyllenhaal kicking ass and taking names. Terrence Howard was good, but sadly, Maria Bello was wasted. She had at least one cool scene/line when she confronts Jackman about being about to protect his family.
Previews: There are some trailers, as well as a DVD and Ultraviolet Copy of the film.