The thriller genre is one that if done right can deliver some fo the most effective films around. Sadly most aren’t willing to push the boundaries or let the film be smart enough to give it that impact that it needs. One of the most talked about thriller’s when it hit theaters was Prisoners starring Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Terrence Howard, Viola Davis, Maria Bello, Melissa Leo and Paul Dano, but does it live up to the hype?
Prisoners follows a father obsessed with finding out who kidnapped his daughter and her friend. The only lead is a dilapidated RV that had earlier been parked on their street but the lead detective is force to release the driver due to lack of evidence. As the police pursue multiple leads and pressure mounts, knowing his child's life is at stake the frantic the father decides he has no choice but to take matters into his own hands. This is one of those films that surpasses all the hype and really delivers everything you could want in a thriller. It showcases just enough set up for you to understand the family without wasting a lot of time. As the film moves forward it takes you in varying direction leading you directly on the right path as well as constantly diverting you in different paths. Everyone in the film give great performances, but this is Jackman’s show all the way. His performance borders on brilliance taking his character through every range of emotion imaginable. Gyllenhaal steps things up a bit as well as the obsessed detective on the case taking a role that could have been pretty generic and making it something so much more. This is a dark film that takes some disturbing turns at times, but not in the way you may think. Instead it’s due to the realism and some of the realizations that occur. There is some torture brutality that while not always graphic still packs a bunch on numerous levels thanks to the reactions the various characters have because of and during them.
This film packs more twists and turns that work perfectly than any other film of its kind in some time. It’s gritty visuals, excellent performances and well-crafted storyline make it easily the best thriller to come along in years. There are some interesting choices that are taken with the ending that is clever and borders on artsy and could leave some wondering what actually happened, which makes for a great movie. If you like a good thriller, the cast involved or both then be to take this intense journey into darkness, you will not regret it.