Prisoners

prisoners_poster
Prisoners
Release date: September 27, 2013 (India)
Directed by: Denis Villeneuve
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard, Melissa Leo, Paul Dano, Erin Gerasimovich, Kyla Drew Simmons, Zoe Borde, Dylan Minnette, David Dastmalchian

On the day of Thanksgiving, the Dover family heads over to the Birch house for their traditional turkey. The Birch kids, Eliza (Zoe Borde) and Joy (Kyla Drew Simmons) take the visiting Dover kids out around.  Anna Dover (Erin Gerasimovich) and Joy start playing near a creepy RV, the older siblings pull them back into the house and suddenly Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) asks them to stay away from the basement (?)

The basic plot or the conflict surfaces within the first 25 minutes of this 150 minute long film. The two small girls, Anna and Joy disappear. Everyone starts looking for them and the creepy RV is nowhere to be seen anymore. Agent Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) has the cliche “never left a case unsolved” tag to him and he’s the assigned detective for these suspected kidnappings. He has a constant twitch, he has a neck tattoo and another on his arm and that’s why wears full-sleeved shirts with the collar button firmly in place.

The characters here develop according to the space provided to them by the narrative. Jackman’s Keller Dover is a grim carpenter who’s into hearing religious sermons whenever he can. His character’s wife Grace (Maria Bello) undergoes a paradigm shift in her personality when Anna remains untraceable. She talks of an unknown promise made to her by Keller and his rage mode aggravates. The story’s suspense of who-is-the-kidnapper or who-is-the-child-killer is interesting, but the use of other distracting potential suspects is unfounded at times.

Bob Taylor (David Dastmalchian), Father Patrick Dunn (Len Cariou), Holly Jones (Melissa Leo) and Alex Jones (Paul Dano) all fall into the bracket of possible links to lead to the solution of the case, and all except one flounder due to the writing. Even the eventual discovery of the abductor has no strong point in its balance for the reasoning behind all the continued crimes of the same pattern. To make people lose their faith– as the master conspirator confesses, faith as a whole quality is only restricted to Keller Dover and no one else. And how does he/she know that the victim’s parents believe in religion. Who knows, we have atheist parents too!

Prisoners purely succeeds from Gyllenhaal’s remarkable performance and Paul Dano’s puzzling act. The camera remains placed behind a wall at many times, often a separating line between the characters present to represent the difference. It gets repetitive after a while. Also, you get a good focused pure closeup of a tree trunk for a meaty 8 seconds. There’s a lot here, but the result is a tad disappointing.

My rating: *** (3 out of 5)

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