Child abduction, in any case, is a horrible thing for a parent to go through. Widely publicised cases have gripped a nation in sorrow and terror. Prisoners is a movie about this real life horror, bringing the shock and sadness to the screen. It makes for a difficult and thought provoking movie as it asks, how far would you go if your child was taken?
Prisoners stars Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal. At Thanksgiving, two families, the Birches and the Dovers, are enjoying the holidays and festivities. However, when their daughters, Anna and Joy, go missing, their celebrations soon turn to desperation. Minutes turn to hours and hours turn to days as the families are distraught. But when the police release the main suspect in the case, father Keller Dover takes matters into his own hands as he will do anything to get his daughter Anna back. But with time running out and a persistent Detective Loki, time is running thin and anger is running thick.
Much of the movie is upheld by the terrific performances of Jackman and Gyllenhaal. Jackman, as Keller, wraps his character in wrought anger, sadness and emotion. As a man pushed to the edge, he bitterly tows the line of right and wrong in the name of vengeance and misguided authority. Jackman is stellar as a man fighting for his daughter. He handles the menacing scenes and the quieter scenes with this realistic anguish. Gyllenhaal gives performance as incredible as his Zodiac movie. As Detective Loki, the lead in the investigation, Gyllenhaal adeptly creates a character who is determined but under pressure. He doesn’t have to say much to give away the Loki’s story, but with a twitch and a shift in tone, Gyllenhaal gives a complex and outstanding movie.
With this in mind, Prisoners falls short of being a truly captivating movie. It teeters on dull despite the amount of games and allegories that it tries to make. There are intriguing moments that pull you back in but the minute your interest is piqued is the minute it divulges into more idol shots and false leads. There is so much weight here and instead of it gradually being lifted, it weighs you down. On such a subject, the movies difficulties become detrimental.
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