“Prisoners” | Movie Review

prisoners-2013-1Grade (A+)

Captivating story-telling and award worthy performances make this crime-drama a must-see.

This script spent a few years on the shelf, as a revolving door of possible cast member’s came and went. Finally with Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal inked in, the script written by Aaron Guzikowski was finally released. The film also stars; Maria Bello, Terrance Howard, Viola Davis, Paul Dano and Melissa Leo.

When the Dover’s and the Birch’s get together for Thanksgiving their quiet holiday meal turns horrific when they discover their youngest daughters have been kidnapped. With the only lead being a run-down RV, Detective Loki (Gyllenhaal) must piece together the events of the crime. As the minutes turn to hours, and then to days, Keller Dover (Jackman) decides to take matters into his own hands to find his daughter and her friend. Dover must deal with the emotional consequences of his actions as he relentlessly pursues the whereabouts of his child.

I don’t usually get to the point so quickly in a review but this film was great, and I can easily call it a must-see. It delivers excellence on virtually every intended level. Character performances, cinematography, score, story-line and locations all work great in this film and combine together perfectly to make for a great viewing. While I may never know why this script was sitting dormant for so long I can clearly see why it wasn’t forgotten.

The story kept me on the edge of my seat throughout, and while you may think you know how it will play out, you can never be certain. The breakdown of the story-lines structure was great, with just enough sub-plots to weave an intricate tale but not too much to muddle it with confusion.


The entire cast was excellent and all delivered performances they can be proud of. With the random stars connected to this project over the years, the time this script spent on the shelf, was worth it to assemble a cast like this one. Without this cast the film would have been much less of its final quality.

The dialogue was well written and provides enough back-story to the characters and delivers many great scenes among them. Some of the scenes including Hugh Jackman and Terrence Howard that took place inside the vacant building is some of the best acting I have seen in recent years. To sum up the performances of the cast in one-word would be, riveting (as clichè as it sounds). The score of the film was also excellent. The deep somber tones that played throughout blended perfectly with the cold bleak setting of the film. Together they pull you into the location as well as the story and seem to put you right there with the characters and their solemn personalities.

The cinematography in the film was also top-notch. With various camera angles and the specific use of weather elements as a theme to the scenes, will make you reach for a blanket even if you are watching this film in the heat of summer. It is not too often that so many aspect of a film all manage to deliver their best on the same project but “Prisoners” is one of those rare occasions.

“Prisoners” will have your attention lured into the story from the beginning and will leave you talking about the story-line long after the end credits have rolled. Hugh Jackman may never win an Academy Award for his high-earning comic-book roles, but he clearly earned the nod with his performance in this one. Overall this film is top quality for its genre and an entertaining watch making this film one not to be passed on.

Time: 153 min

MPAA Rating: R (For disturbing violent content including torture, and language throughout)