September 21st, 2013  |  Published in Featured, Recent Reviews

Prisoners poster wide trailer 2013 PrisonersNewbie Hollywood director David Villenueve earns his title as upcoming director to watch in his new film “Prisoners,” a gripping abduction film that will keep you at the edge of your seat constantly questioning the emotionally driven motives of its characters and their willingness to put aside their moral conscience in order to protect their family.

The Dover family-comprised of Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman), his wife Grace (Maria Bello), their daughter Anna and son Ralph-have left their blue collar home to have Thanksgiving dinner with their neighbors the Birch’s (Terrance Howard and Viola Davis). Wine is being poured, conversation is being passed around and Mr. Birch has chosen to serenade his dinner guests with a less than impressive concert of poorly played trumpet tunes. Upon the conclusion of Mr. Birch’s ambitious solo performance the families realize that something is amiss, their daughters are nowhere to be found.   Panic strikes the two families when Keller’s son reports that the girls had been climbing on a suspiciously parked RV earlier that day and the families begin to suspect the worst; that their daughters had been abducted.

Jake Gyllenhaal as Detective Laki is the officer assigned to the missing persons case. The actor flawlessly portrays the role of a detective who has never left a case unsolved. After extensive research and methodical detective work, Laki Finds and detains the owner of the RV Camper, Alex Jones (Paul Dano)-a grown man with the mental ability of a 6 year old. Without enough hard evidence,  he is released from holding and acquitted of the detectives suspicion. Unsatisfied with the work of the Laki, Keller Dover takes matters into his own hands and makes the decision to conduct his own investigation, his own interrogations that are by no means lawful in any sense of the word. At this point, Villeneuve shows us Just how far parents will go in order to protect their family and bring justice to the person (s) responsible?
The phrase “beginners luck” could apply to director David Villenueve, but this film is more than that.   Meticulously planned and masterfully executed, the film takes us all prisoner as it does each of the characters.  Gyllenhaal, Bello, Howard and Davis are brilliant in matching the emotions, dialogue, and scions that real individuals in similar situations may have expressed.

Villenueve has produced a product that Hollywood has been missing from its stock for some time, a character driven film that so closely mimics the unpredictability of human emotion and the different extremes that some would go to in a situation similar to the plot of this film. Prisoners accomplishes an aesthetic that feels undoubtedly lifelike and will certainly do well in the box office. David Villenueve is most certainly a director to watch in the future. If his upcoming work reflects the same caliber of filmmaking displayed in “Prisoners” movie goers are poised to see some great work on the big screen.


-Stephen Simmons

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