by Amie Grimason
It often happens that the trailer for a film hypes it up to be better than what it actually is. The trailer for Denis Villeneuve’s ‘Prisoners’ shows the film to be this fast – paced abduction thriller, however when you scratch beneath the surface, it is a whole lot better than that.
Hugh Jackman plays struggling carpenter Keller Dover whose life turns into turmoil when his 6 year old daughter and her 7 year old friend are abducted in the woods of rural Pennsylvania. The investigation is led by Detective Loki, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, who gives the families hope after revealing he has solved every case assigned to him.
The main suspect in the case, Paul Dano’s Alex Jones, is released after it is discovered he has the IQ of a ten year old and there isn’t enough evidence to hold him any longer. The plot takes a dramatic turn and the fathers of the abducted girls; Jackman and Terrance Howard decide to take the law into their own hands in the race to find their daughters.
Prisoners forces upon the viewer every parent’s worst fears and illustrates the impact abduction has on each family but it also provides us with the element of suspense; a criminal puzzle and a race against time. Jackman, in arguably one of his best performances of his career, is outstanding as the distraught father and injects so much passion and life into the character of Dover that it is difficult not to feel his pain and become part of his emotional journey, meanwhile Gyllenhaal is convincing as the more relaxed – and constantly blinking – detective who is utterly committed to his job. Dano on the other hand manifests his talent and portrays Jones to shocking effect that it is impossible to take your eyes off him.
The dark set of snow and sleeting rain and the soundtrack of chilling opera music add further emphasis to the desperation of the plot.
The story will continue to haunt you long after the credits have finished rolling, I found myself rushing home to hold my baby daughter as she lay asleep in her cot, still mulling it all over in my head.