Boasting a stellar cast of Academy Award-nominated actors, “Prisoners” is an intense, yet strangely quiet crime thriller.
The film, focused on two families dealing with the disappearance of their two young daughters and the detective in charge of the investigation, unfolds over a gripping two and a half hours. It is deeply intense and occasionally hard to watch. The subject matter is dark and depressing, and watching these families suffer is difficult on the audience.
Heading up the film’s amazing cast is Hugh Jackman (“The Wolverine”) and Jake Gyllenhaal (“End of Watch”). It is hard to say which actor gives the better performance, as they both give their all and add to the story. Jackman is incredible as the desperate father doing anything he can to find his daughter. Gyllenhaal makes what could have been just an ordinary detective intriguing, and manages to add layers to the character.
What is really incredible about “Prisoners” is that for a thrilling movie, it has a lot of quiet moments. These quiet moments build the tension more. A lot of that has to do with the brilliant score by Jóhann Jóhannsson. He manages to build the suspense and tension, adding power to the movie.
“Prisoners” is quite long but it feels as though the film needs that amount of time to tell this story. It needs the red herrings and misses in order to make it realistic. There is no single scene that felt like it did not belong or did not add to the story. It all is leading up to the conclusion of the case.
“Prisoners” is a well-made movie. There are no scenes that drag on beyond what is necessary. All the acting is superb, with even the minor characters doing outstanding work with no real weak spots. It has an incredible score that adds from the narrative. Fairly unknown director Denis Villeneuve does a great job building tension and telling this story.
With that in mind, this is not the kind of movie one can just sit down and watch. Viewers should know what they are getting into. The subject matter is dark and depressing, with no real relief from the misery these characters are facing. Once the girls are kidnapped, the movie does not release viewers until the end. It is a well-done movie and will most likely be nominated for a few awards, just proceed with caution.