In a year full of great films and equally great performances by actors, director Denis Villeneuve’s child-abduction drama, “Prisoners,” gives you a story that brings you in close and then grips you hard.
In the film, Keller Dover, played by Hugh Jackman is your typical blue-collar working man who just experienced every parent’s worst nightmare – his child is missing.
Along with his missing daughter is also the daughter of his neighbors. After frantically searching for the girls, they are still nowhere to be found.
Hours become days, and an investigation is started.
After coming out of a big case, a young hotshot detective named Loki, played by talented actor Jake Gyllenhaal, is assigned to the alleged abduction and a strange young man is picked up and held for questioning by officials.
Both Keller and Loki know that there is something not right about the suspect.
However, when he is released, due to unforeseen technicalities, Keller does something he never thought he would do – he takes someone as a prisoner.
Determined to find the girls, Keller will do whatever he has to do to accomplish this, even if it means taking the life of another.
The two main stars of this film, Jackman and Gyllenhaal, stand out in perhaps their best performances to date.
I never in my wildest dreams would have thought Jackman, the man also known as Wolverine, would be such a great actor. I recognize his true talents after seeing “Prisoners.”
Jackman, who has donned the Wolverine claws for almost a decade and stole our hearts in last year’s award winning, “Les Miserables,” is perfect in this role.
He embraced a difficult role where he would have to do whatever it takes to find his child. His brutality as we have seen with the character Wolverine is still noticeable, but his determination and passion is what truly wins the audience.
Ever since I saw the film, “Donnie Darko” as a teenager, I knew Gyllenhaal was destined for greatness in his career.
In the role of Loki, a hardened detective who never gives up, he almost outshines Jackman’s character at times.
Embracing a side of emotions we have never seen from him; this role was made for Gyllenhaal and him alone. Gyllenhaal shows he is just getting warmed up as an actor.
The film also has a powerhouse of supporting performances from actors Maria Bello, Viola Davis, Terrence Howard, Paul Dano and Melissa Leo.
Villeneuve is on his way to being an acclaimed director.
Along with legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins, they captured this film and its chilling motifs seamlessly.
Aaron Guzikowski, who provided the script for the film, did an amazing job capturing the hurt and anger that characters going through this might feel.
Because of his amazing script, viewers never get the feeling that this is an actor acting, but a father who is hurting immensely.
With standout acting performances, a great story and truly heart-wrenching emotions, “Prisoners” gets 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Story by John Gruccio, Contributing Writer