“Prisoners” shows pain and rage when two children vanish

Marissa VanDaelen, Staff Writer

prioners-movieBy Staff Writer: Marissa VanDaelen

Thrillers are often filled with plenty of action and always contain suspenseful scenes that leave the viewer on the edge of their seats. They usually stimulate moods of anticipation, uncertainty, and curiosity. Prisoners, directed by Denis Villeneuve, offers a slower, but still action-packed kidnapping thriller.

Opening with a snowy scene in the woods, the movie seems quite peaceful at first. A deer is the main focus on the screen while the barrel of a shotgun comes into the picture. A prayer is being recited and suddenly the shotgun fires. As the deer goes down, the camera reveals Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman), and his son, Ralph Dover (Dylan Minnette). On the way home, Keller tells Ralph to always be prepared for the worst in life. Ironically, Keller is unprepared for what’s to come.

When Anna Dover (Keller’s daughter) and her friend, Joy Birch, wander off after dinner and are nowhere to be found, their families become worried and start searching for them. Keller Dover becomes enraged and practically obsessive over finding out who kidnapped his daughter. After searching for a while, Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal), eventually comes into play. He is determined to find Anna and Joy but still Keller refuses to give up searching for the answers himself. He suspects Alex Jones (Paul Dano), of the crime and goes to extreme measures to get him to talk. Jones is a man who lives near the Kellers.

Prisoners has a running time of two hours and twenty-six minutes but it was nearly impossible for me not to be entertained during any part of it. Kidnapping is a terrible, yet very common crime so the storyline was believable right from the start. Villeneuve did a brilliant job with directing this movie as well. He seemed to purposely choose not to use bright colors to set the mood. Everything was visually dull but the movie itself was full of tension.

Additionally, the actors did a wonderful job with playing their roles. Jackman was the perfect person to play as Keller Dover. I could feel a lot of the rage and pain of him and he had no problem with letting it all pour out. I understood why he felt the way he did and I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him. I couldn’t imagine dealing with something that tragic. It was a movie I can say truly changed my mood. Prisoners was obviously meant to be thrilling but it also gave off a sad vibe. I find it incredible when a movie can make you feel such deep emotions.

Although Keller demonstrated his pain and rage numerous times, I feel that Detective Loki may have dealt with the most pain of anyone in the movie. It’s certain that Gyllenhaal portrayed the detective role excellently and remained calm and became torn down at all the right moments. Detective Loki was so caught up in his job throughout the entire movie that we never saw anything about his personal life. He had to deal with the kidnapping on a professional level and I believe he had a lot of rage and pain built up inside of him. His feelings were very rarely let out.

Overall, I believe this movie was phenomenal. It really reminded me of The Lovely Bones, which is another great must see. Prisoners received an 81% positive rating from Rotten Tomatoes and is definitely up there on favorite thrillers in my book.

Prisoners is an attention-grabbing movie and will get you so absorbed into it that you won’t even realize how long it is or how fast the time is going by. I would highly recommend this movie for anyone who wishes to see a spectacularly drawn out crime thriller.

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