If there is ever a movie to show the Oscar worthiness of Hugh Jackman, it would be this powerful new thriller Prisoners. Directed by French Canadian Oscar nominee Denis Villeneuve (Incendies, 2010) in his English language debut, it stars Oscar nominees Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal in an outstanding story that makes you think: “How far would I go to protect my family?”
Two gorgeous little girls, Anna (Erin Gerasimovich) and Joy (Kyla Drew Simmons) suddenly go missing as their families celebrate Thanksgiving in Pennsylvania. Undoubtedly every parents’ nightmare, the immediate panic is felt by Anna’s parents Keller and Grace Dover (Jackman and Maria Bello) and Joy’s parents Franklin and Nancy Birch (Terrence Howard and Viola Davis). Leading the investigation into their disappearance is local detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal in what is probably his finest performance to date).
The only lead Loki has is the decaying campervan that had been parked in their street for a few days. He arrests the driver for questioning, but a problem arises with a lack of evidence and the fact that the driver is peculiar childlike man Alex Jones (played convincingly by Paul Dano) with the mental capacity of a 10 year old. Therefore Loki is compelled to release him.
Despite Loki’s attempts to keep the families calm, Dover has other ideas, as he is sure that Jones knows where the girls are. With the cautious cooperation of Joy’s father Franklin Birch he decides to use any means, to make Jones tell him. The brutal determination Dover uses surprised me, as I did not think Jackman had that level of violence in him!
This powerful thriller was written by Aaron Guzikowski, creator and writer of television series The Red Road. The violence is extreme in some scenes, however it works and is convincingly necessary. The terror is accentuated by legendary cinematographer Roger Deakin’s (Shawshank Redemption 1994 and Skyfall 2012) magnificent photography.
This is an outstanding tale which is destined for awards and box-office glory.
Reviewed by Kirstey Whicker
Rating out of 10: 9