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Prisoners by Denis Villeneuve
The emotional journey on which any parent embarks when his child disappears is one that most of us can only begin to try to understand. For Denis Villeneuve, it seems like this journey doesn’t have anymore secrets, and that he’s traveled to the deepest ends of this psychological state, to bring you his follow-up film to 2010’s Incendies.
Thanksgiving day, family reunion, suburban Pennsylvania. It’s an average rainy day of November, that is about to shatter the lives of two families, when their daughters get abducted in broad daylight. Prisoners is the story of the days following-up the abduction, and the struggle that everyone involved is facing.
Hugh Jackman is simply astonishing in the role of Keller Dover, a father who is willing to risk everything to find his missing daughter, and who will face indescribable stress, anger and life-altering dilemmas throughout his quest for salvation. He is both assisted and confronted by Detective Loki, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, who does his best to solve this puzzling case, while making sure that the unstable father doesn’t make anything he could deeply regret.
The acting is spectacular. Paul Dano plays one twisted character who will leave you confused and disturbed, even overshadowing Jackman’s award-worthy performance. Villeneuve digs so profoundly into the psychology of his characters, that you will constantly find yourself reflecting on your own feelings about the limits you would be ready to go to if facing the same situations. You will see Keller Dover turn from a regular redneckish dad into a man with a very questionable vendetta.
But none of that would matter if it wasn’t backed by an intense and haunting plot, sending the viewer onto a zillion possible avenues, just to dismantle them all and finally bring the audience to a jaw-dropping resolution.
“It will leave you on the edge of your seat” is both a cliché and the best way to describe what you will feel through those 153 minutes of runtime, that go by at the speed of light.
Prisoners will have its place at the top of modern thrillers, besides Se7en, The Departed and The Prestige.