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Movie Review: Prisoners

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Prinz Lee wrote this review 4 years and 5 months ago

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Exposing just about every loving parent’s worst nightmare, as dark and gritty as “Prisoners” may be, it’s an awesome edge-of-your-seat, clock-ticking, suspense thriller, with great acting and intense twists.

I’m not a parent, but I AM a loving uncle of two. And as caring and protective as I am with my nephews, I don’t think it compares to that of a parent with their own brood. It’s a parent’s mission in life to guide, teach, and protect their kids until old enough to fend for the themselves. However, when protection slips, awful things happen—and that’s when a parent’s biggest challenge comes to fruition in two ways: one, having to deal with guilt and the two, doing the best they can to cope, keep some sort of sanity, and do the best they can to strategize, especially in a case that entails their child going missing.

That dreadful subject-matter’s exposed in the most hellish way in “Prisoners.” Raising the stakes after an unexplainable mishap post a Thanksgiving dinner, every character finds themselves locked in their own dark, soulful prison. Whether mental, emotional, or physical (or all at once), the kidnapping of two little girls throws a peaceful Pennsylvania neighborhood for a loop of misery.

“Prisoners” has a strong cast of powerful talent as it stars Jake Gyllenhall, Viola Davis, Paul Dano, Terence Howard, Melissa Leo, and Maria Bellow, but this entire piece is really owned by The Wolverine himself, Mr. Hugh Jackman! Running parallel to outstanding cinematography courtesy of Roger Deakins, and an original screenplay by Aaron Guzikowski, director Denis Villeneuve portrays a beautifully crafted piece that’ll make your brain and spine shake with its cold, dark, and somber affects. Twisting and turning its way through a cold, rainy/snowy winter, as this piece runs through empty woods, deserted buildings, and investigative leads that seem to only generate more questions, “Prisoners” is one of the best parental-based suspense thrillers I’ve seen since “Mystic River.”

From start to its title card at the end, this film’s a maze of emotional distress. Working well off one another, there are many moments where you’re lost on who to “root for.” In more ways than one, the script provides surprise after surprise—and just when you think you’ve figured it out, you haven’t. It’s designed in way that not only makes you question the cast (especially Jackman’s vigilante character), but also yourself, as you’re gripping your own morals while hypnotized by the plot and start questioning what’s right, wrong, good, or bad.

It’s not an easy question to answer when asked just how far you’d go to protect and/or save your family. Are there any limits? Do morals come into question? As individuals, we’re pretty much set on what we might do if confronted with such dire situations, but one thing I know for sure, once you’ve seen “Prisoners,” it won’t get any easier to answer.

With such a powerful story that captivates and makes you question, alongside its superb cast, its run time of over two hours isn’t felt. “Prisoners” stands strong among other films released this year, and also serves as one of the best! With lots of power, it wouldn’t surprise me if this is up for some kind of nomination during award season.

Must see!


Grade: A / Genre: Crime, Drama, Suspense, Thriller / Rated: R / Run Time: 2 Hrs. 25 Min.

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhall, Viola Davis, Paul Dano, Terence Howard, Melissa Leo, and Maria Bellow

Directed by: Denis Villeneuve



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