PRISONERS: REVIEW – In Prisoners, father, husband, hunter, survivalist, carpenter, beard wearer and above all ACTOR Hugh Jackman is thrown into turmoil when his daughter is abducted along with the daughter of Iron Man 1‘s black guy Terrence Howard.
The prime suspect is Paul Dano – breaking with Dano tradition and playing a weirdo – but he is apparently mentally incapable of answering a question with anything but an off-putting leer. When he is released, Hugh ACTOR decides to take things into his own hands.
Watching Denis Villeneuve’s film I was reminded of another child abduction thriller Mystic River. Both films share the same wintry, rainy palette (the brilliant Roger Deakins, here, is one of those cinematographers who I’d follow as closely as a director), and they both manage to supersede essentially pulpy material as something serious, glum even albeit not as tragic as they might wish. Everyone in Prisoners has a silly name – Jackman is called Kelley Dover, Gyllenhaal is Detective Loki! – but they act as if they don’t know it. Wolverine is particularly grimly determined to take this project seriously and the result is an ‘intense’ performance unpolluted by shades or subtlety. The heavy handed allegory and the one word title likewise weigh of worthiness, and yet when it comes down to it this is a well made thriller on a well worn story. Most will want to check out the Wikipedia plot summary to understand exactly how everything happened and too much happens because of dumb decision making (again similar to Mystic River in this regard), but it’s a high quality production and it looks beautiful. Oh, and Hugh Jackman ACTS.