After weeks of movies not worth watching in theaters and probably not at all, I needed to get to the big screen to see something. It has been about a month since I have gone to a theater to see a film (That’s the longest movie drought I’ve had in five years at least).
When I first saw the trailer for Prisoners, I wasn’t impressed. Hugh Jackman looked as though he was overacting, and Jake Gyllenhaal isn’t the most intriguing actor. Despite my feelings about the film, Prisoners received solid reviews across the board. When in need of a movie to see in theaters during the weak months of the year, a well-reviewed thriller has the potential to satisfy a chronic moviegoer. Prisoners more than sufficed my craving to see a movie on the big screen. I don’t want to say much to ruin the film, because it will take away from the thrill ride. I was on the edge of my seat for the entire two hours and 30 minutes. I also kept putting my hands to my face, sighing heavily and fidgeting frantically throughout the film in an attempt to quell my nerves. Admittedly, I had the urge to jump up in the theater and provide moral support for Jake Gyllenhaal with phrases like “C’mon, Jake!” and “You can do it!”
In order to accomplish its thrilling ambiance, Prisoners went to a dark place. Children were abducted, their lives were at stake and nobody knew what was happening to them in the meantime. That’s disturbing in and of itself. On top of that, you have a father who will do anything to save his child, including harm other human beings in a sadistic manner. Finally, the movie was literally dark. I don’t know where the movie took place, but the main weather throughout the film was overcast and raining. The other half of the film took place during the night. I don’t remember the sun peaking out through the clouds once.
Jackman did a great job in his role. What came across as overacting in the trailer became more understandable upon seeing the film. I could only remember one scene where Gyllenhaal did a terrible job acting. It took me out of the movie slightly, but other than that he was solid. He also had his shirt buttoned all the way up throughout the entire movie. I kept looking at the screen hoping that he would unbutton that top button because it looked so damn uncomfortable (Yes, this bugged me).
I think Terrence Howard is great. Although I also love Don Cheadle, I wish they never replaced Howard in the Iron Man films. Paul Dano is the perfect person to portray a troubled and mysterious suspect. Melissa Leo is always a nice addition to a film, considering her acting prowess.
Viola Davis had a mitigated role as Howard’s wife. It felt odd to me considering she has multiple Oscar nominations, but it simply added to the movie’s pedigree as she nailed her small part. Come to think of it, Jackman, Howard, Gyllenhaal and Leo also all have Oscar nominations under their belts with Leo winning for her supporting role in The Fighter.
One thing I do want to say is if you have children, especially young kids, I wouldn’t suggest seeing Prisoners. It might be too disturbing for that audience. I might not have been able to handle it, if I had a child.
That being said, I don’t really have any gripes against this film. Make no mistake about it, it is a disturbing movie. I’ll compare it Gone Baby Gone, because they had a similar plot and Gone Baby Gone was also a fantastic film. I thought Gone Baby Gone was a little disturbing, but Prisoners is worse. However, if you think you could handle its disturbing parts, Prisoners is one of the best films of 2013 and by far the most thrilling.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Prisoners harnessed its premise with a stacked cast and a thrilling tale that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The two and a half hour movie flies by during its emotionally gripping mystery.
I’ll give Prisoners 5 out of 5 cups.
As of Sept. 25, Prisoners made a domestic total of approximately $26 million versus a production budget of $46 million, according to Box Office Mojo.
To see the movie trailer for Prisoners, click here.