Caesar's Review of Prisoners
Any kind of story can be a great one regardless of how many time a similar one might have been told. Challenging the norm of expectations of an entire genre, non traditional in storytelling, and even exploring the story in a new way. Prisoners breaks new ground with it premise that brings complexity and provoking thoughts on the viewer own morals.
Prisoners is about a father taking matters into his own hands after his young daughter and her friend disappear and a hot-shot detective assigned to the case relentlessly trying to find the clues that could lead to the whereabouts of the missing girls. Prisoners on the surface appears to be a basic film about child abduction, but its narrative is unconventional. The first thirty minutes waste no time setting up the characters, motivations, their moralities, and our early perception in how to view them. These characters are written realistically engaging the viewer to challenge themselves thoughtfully if they would do the same and what role would they play in a similar situation. This brilliantly works in favor of its story as we perceive each action slowly impairing our morality choosing which character to side with. It's tight and slow pacing desolately crawls under your skin. Switching from who sympathize for in many scenes. Intensifying the dreary atmosphere becoming more unsure how far character will go. Going even as far as to question if the motivation is enough to justify the action taken by a father to find his missing daughter.
Not in short supply is the clever usages of clues in the film connecting each together to paint a darker picture of events. Making it difficult to be exact if everything is exactly as we think. Keeping the viewer guessing how it'll all the way through the end. When it does reach the end it's an open ending that leaves viewer to interpret how the outcome resulted. The script fails to provide for the women of the film with anything that equals to the males. Most of the women don't play huge parts in the story being reduce to give exposition or motivation for another character. Serving little purpose other than being plot devices. It couldn't avoid a common trapping where the audience will piece the mystery faster than the film detective. Not entirely a negative flaw since it doesn't detract from the investment we make, but will make certain scenes of the film feel like a drag to get through.
Hugh Jackman has set a new high bar for his acting ability. Jackman approaches his character with ferocity keeping the audience guessing about their own moral complexities. He tears into scenes in a way we've never seen him and layers his character with plenty of affection, empathy, grief, and rage. Embodying everything the film represents giving a realistic, thoughtful portrayal on a complex character. Jake Gyllenhaal holds his own up against Jackman impressive performance. Jake Gyllenhaal is disconnected from real emotion in another multilayered role. He's the most identifiable embroiling himself with the family like the viewer and having constant doubts. Expressing our concern, frustration, and uncertainty. Paul Dano doesn't have too much to offer but is completely adequate in form. Dano plays a dumb character expertly having our doubts about him and humanizing him through little words. Supporting cast have little screen time especially the actresses, but fulfill on what little time they get. The score is haunting and expressively moody intensifying atmosphere.
Prisoners brings gritty realism in its premise without sacrificing intelligence nor avoids challenging the complexity of morality characters present. Anchor by two powerhouse performances that embodied the film moody atmosphere and complexity of morality. Embroiling the audience of the at times harshness of reality an experience that is relatable making them view their moral compass in an entirely different perspective.