Sunday, September 22, 2013


Movie Name: Prisoners
Year of Release: 2013
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard, Melissa Leo, Paul Dano, Dylan Minnette, Len Cariou, Wayne Duvall, David Dastmalchian, Kyla Drew Simmons, Erin Gerasimovich, Zoe Borde
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 8

"Prisoners" has been a surprise hit of the festival circuit of 2013. Directed by Denis Villeneuve, who made his name with the film "Incendies", which was nominated for the best foreign film Oscar, "Prisoners" is an original screenplay from Aaron Guzikowski, which made the list of best screenplays of 2010. The film follows the story of two neighboring families, who reunite for a Thanksgiving dinner. Both families have two little girls, who suddenly disappear, without a trace left behind. Their parents enlist the help of the police to trace their whereabouts, but nothing is found. Their only clue is a young man with mental issues, who becomes their prime suspect, without much evidence to follow up. Keller Dover, one of the parents, takes matters into his hands, and decides to investigate on his own, while the police, in particular Detective Loki, is feverishly trying to unveil the whereabouts of the girls.
Denis Villeneuve has a keen eye for the dynamics of every day life - he perfectly captures the lives of the families who are hit by this tragedy. In a matter of the first minutes of the film, we quickly realize who these people are. Their grief stricken despair is the more real, since the film never goes for a sensationalistic approach. There's a certain hint of Dennis Lehane's novels in the screenplay, but the characters are deftly presented, and the suspense is built progressively. The atmosphere that is built is certainly oppressive and bleak, but the film is elevated by the fantastic cast: Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Melissa Leo and Paul Dano, all deliver more than impeccable performances. A great film worth watching.