How far would a parent go to protect their family? Alcon Entertainment in a Warner Bros. Pictures’ release, ‘Prisoners’ seeks to shed light on a parent’s abduction dilemma. The movie details desperate attempts by the parents and police to find Joy Birch (Kyla Drew Simmons) and Anna Dover (Erin Gerasimovich) who go missing on Thanksgiving Day.
Aaron Guzikowski has penned a captivating thriller filled with noteworthy characters operating on multiple psychological levels. He creates a specter of a boogeyman that is so frightening it will have you analyzing every aspect of the film.
The title suggests, there is more than one prisoner in the film. The obvious prisoners are the two young girls who are held against their will by their abductor. Other examples include Maria Bello as Grace Dover a mother who is so inconsolable and depressed that she has become a prisoner in her own bedroom. While another mother, Nancy Birch (Academy Award®-nominee Viola Davis ‘Doubt’, ‘The Help’) is a prisoner in her house where she cannot bring herself to clear Thanksgiving dishes days after the girls have disappeared.
Alex Jones (Paul Dano ) is the person of interest who is a prisoner in the body of a non- verbal man child who cannot fully express or defend himself.
Academy award-nominee® Hugh Jackman (Keller Dover) is a father who becomes a prisoner of his actions. He is committed to his desperate plan to finding out where the kidnapped children are being held. Jackman brings a depth to Keller by immersing into this deeply distressed character. He creates an extremely dark and disturbing image as a father who will go to any length to save his child.
Terrence Howard (Academy award-nominee®) is Franklin Birch. He is an unwilling prisoner when he commits to Keller’s plan. Howard usually plays a strong dominate character such as a pimp or a crime boss. It is refreshing to see him in this part filled with self-doubt and uncertainty. He seems to collapse within himself as he cannot come to terms with the horrible circumstances.
Academy Award®-nominee Jake (‘Brokeback Mountain’) provides an outstanding performance as Detective Loki. He is a young police officer who has never failed to solve an assigned case. He is determined to find the missing children. In fact, his name is a play on words since Loki (pronounced ‘Lock Key’) suggests he is the one who has keys to unlock this challenging mystery.
Melissa Leo (Academy Award® winning actress) is Holly Jones. She delivers a chilling performance as the aunt and caretaker of Alex. Her appearances is so altered that only her voice betrays her identity.
Usually in a movie with this many celebrities (there are four Academy award nominees and one winner in the cast) overkill is expected. But under the direction of Denis Villeneuve who helmed the Oscar®-nominated foreign language film ‘Incendies.’ this ensemble cast of ‘A List ‘ stars works well together. As a result this team has created a memorable thriller filled with Oscar® worthy performances.
‘Prisoners’ is filled with dark and disturbing images. It is a true psychological thriller that will have you on edge with its relentless assault on your emotions throughout the film. It is a first rate mystery tapping into the fears of all parents. As a result, they may be compelled to check on their children throughout the night.
This film has been rated R for disturbing violent content including torture, and language throughout.