This is the kind of movie that I love: a suspenseful thriller with surprise twists that keeps you guessing until the end. That’s what the movie Prisoners is. Since the success of The Sixth Sense, films that pull you in and keep you glued to your seat like that have been few and far between. But here’s one that meets expectations with a smart script and an A-list cast of Oscar-nominated actors who rise to the occasion.
Hugh Jackman and Terrence Howard are fathers whose daughters have gone missing, assumed to be a result of kidnapping. A suspect in the case is immediately found but there is no evidence to convict the man. Jackman’s character, Keller Dover, is convinced that the suspect is the kidnapper though. Jake Gyllenhaal plays Detective Loki who is handling the case. He’s clearly determined to find the two little girls, though Keller’s persistence and overbearing interference in the situation seems to be an annoyance to the detective. He can tell that the anguished father is set on taking matters into his own hands. This gives him the overwhelming task of solving the case but also keeping the father in check as well.
I won’t say any more about the plot so as not to ruin anything for you (the primary kidnapping suspect was revealed in the trailers already), but believe me that this film will keep you guessing. Once you think you may have figured things out, the film throws another suspicious element into the mix. This causes the film to go for about 2 ½ hours which is especially long for a movie about kidnapped children, but you won’t want to give up on it for a second. The film pulls you in so that you’ll be dying to know what really happened. Gyllenhaal is very effective as the detective who seems to be a loner; his introverted demeanor indicates that he’s focused enough to put all that he knows into solving this case. And Hugh Jackman puts on the performance of his career as the father who will stop at nothing to find his child. Even Mel Gibson in Ransom didn’t show the kind of intensity displayed here. It’s an acting tour de force which resonates throughout the film. While some may say that it feels too long, there really aren’t many unnecessary scenes. It all seems to tie together eventually. So I recommend putting aside a few hours of your day to go see this bracing movie. It’s by no means a feel-good cheerful film but it’s nonetheless exhilarating.