Jason's Review of Prisoners
Villeneuve's bleak, harrowing drama wastes no time setting it's wheels in motion, and once it starts its a long, long haul to its conclusion. Guzikowski's screenplay is perfectly honed; he flits from the tense, to the heartbreaking, to the devastating, almost seamlessly, and Villeneuve milks all the potential from every ounce of what is there. On the screen, it translates in the dual performances of Jackman and Gyllenhaal. The consensus is Jackman has turned in the performance of his career; personally, I find he tends to overact. It's hard not to find yourself thinking he's channelling Wolverine here which to me I found distracting. But there is no denying his tenacity and commitment to a challenging character; he does well considering his own limitations. Gyllenhaal however is nothing short of revelatory. As the detective assigned to the case, he plays it as he should, but there is a past in his character lurking that Gyllenhaal flirts with. The tattoos, the nervous tic, the rage beneath the calm demeanour; it never surfaces, but its enigmatic enough to keep you wondering. Mercifully, considering the subject matter, Guzikowski shies away from the more literal representations of certain activities in Prisoners in the key scenes, and Villeneuve is wise to hold back as well; opting for the subtle over the gratuitous. Still, Roger Deakin's breathtaking cinematography provides gravitas beyond a mere grimy crime drama this could so easily have been, elevating this to something that, at times, is even beautiful despite the film this is. Even though the plot maintains a safe distance from truly judging its own characters actions, Prisoners is still bleak, and quite often truly devastating. It stumbles in a few places, and the finale is a little polarizing, but its an effectively chilling drama that will certainly haunt you long after you've seen it.