Friday, September 20, 2013

Movie Review: "Prisoners"

Prisoners is a simple enough film to follow.  When two little girls go missing and are believed to have been kidnapped, one of their father's -- portrayed by a gruff Hugh Jackman -- takes the law into his own hands, torturing the prime suspect when the police can't charge him with anything.

This is a film that asks many moral questions, most notably -- What would you do if this happened to you?  While I'd like to think most fathers wouldn't go to the extremes Jackman's character does, I don't know if I'd blame someone either for doing what he does in this film.  I think that's why so many in the cast seem to relate to this material, and it shows in their performances, which are all strong, in particular a near mute Paul Dano as the prime suspect with a shattered psyche.  Ultimately, though, while Prisoners offers some rich, complex characters, the lack of any levity, as well as the more, "been there, done that," procedural elements of the story, really make this a long watch.

We can see much of what Prisoners has to offer, in particular the detective aspects of hunting down the kidnapper, by staying at home and watching an episode of Law & Order in one-third of the time.  Perhaps the film would have been stronger had it focused entirely on Jackman torturing Dano's character?  Sure, there would have never been any levity in that scenario either, but at least it would have made for a more tight and concise story that would have been different and justified why this had to be a film and not just an episode of a TV show.

I give Prisoners a B-!

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