It feels like everyone put their best into this movie. The intensity of the scenes and horror of other scenes is brought to life by the sincerity of the actors playing their roles. As a father willing to do anything to get his daughter back Jackman does not disappoint in making us feel what he’s going through even when he’s at his worst. We’re torn through scenes as he’s fighting to find the truth of the mystery. Gyllenhaal is as complicated as he is entertaining to watch as a detective with a mysterious background that has obviously left him with some emotional scars. He and Jackman fight for the lead role in the movie but in a way they’re simply sharing different ends of the spectrum. Melissa Leo haunts the screen without having to really to try, or at least that’s how she makes it seem. Paul Dano breathes life into a character that would have otherwise been completely forgotten about if he’d been played by someone else. In many ways Paul Dano is the shining star of the movie, he may not be the main character but he’s a very important key and extremely well done. His character would have been easy to overdo or forget about had he not been done right but Dano pulled everything together beautifully. Although, I have to go back to Jackman, the movie would not be nearly as suspenseful without the intense scenes he gives us. He’s outstanding in this.
Honestly, I hadn’t heard of Denis Villeneuve prior to Prisoners and, after watching this film, I’m really upset that I hadn’t discovered him sooner. He places everything together and gets exactly what he wants out of the actors and it runs perfectly with the suspense and mystery that brings the movie to life. I really can’t wait to wrap my eyes and senses around his next film and so far it doesn’t look like it’ll disappoint either (Enemy, starring Jake Gyllenhaal). I’ll be keeping a close eye on this guy.
The story was extremely well written with twists that really make you think. Even after the credits roll you’re left wondering the true difference between right and wrong. While some of the story could have gone differently it was still really well done. It seems kind of like a copout that they didn’t go as gritty with some things as they could have gone but even though they didn’t it still doesn’t disappoint, and it could just be my morbid sense of humor that wanted things to get worse than they could have. Still, things get pretty hairy. Some people will be able to predict the outcome of some of the events, but what impresses me is that there’s not a wasted scene in the whole movie. Everything is put into the movie for a reason and it all comes together in the end.
Roger Deakins earns his 10th Academy Award nomination for cinematography, yet still doesn’t win, yet his talent really shows in this movie. For a story as depressing, gritty and suspenseful as Prisoners he really captures the moment and makes the surrounding world come to life in a way that stays with you. The haunting score and scenes melt together to bring the movie to a standstill when things start to get intense. Thanks to the editing, music and top notch cinematography the movie looks as great as it needs to, had there been a better way to put this movie together I couldn’t imagine it.
I loved this movie. Everything about the movie was done amazingly well and, in my opinion, is one of the best movies of the year if not the decade. I’m a little upset that it wasn’t showcased more in the Oscars but it makes me happy to see Roger Deakins was noticed once again. Drive, Children of Men and Prisoners have been my surprise hits of the last few years and I can’t wait to see more of all of these guys’ movies so that we can continue to have hits in the years to come.