The movie Prisoners staring Hugh Jackman as the father of an abducted daughter is an excellent film. The story is engaging, the characters sympathetic, the ending cathartic (for the most part). I’m going to give it a B, it was good, but a little flawed by what appears to be constant rewrites of the script.
While you’ve probably seen the trailer let me give a little background. The movie revolves around the kidnapping of the two girls and follows two major plot lines. The first is that of Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) as he, rather clumsily, tracks down leads to where the girls might be kept. The second and more interesting plot line revolves around the father of one of the girls (Hugh Jackman) who takes it upon himself to capture and torture information out the most promising suspect for the crime whom the police just let walk.
It’s an emotional rollercoaster as it jumps back and forth between the different strands of the plot and forces the audience to both question how far would we go to save our own children and being torn about Jackman’s character getting caught. It does a good job in showing how different people would react in a multitude of ways to the stress of a situation like this without being preachy or judgmental toward any of their reactions.
And I can’t go into too many of the details of the film because this is one of those movies that is both worth seeing and it’s best you don’t know the ending going in. In fact, the more I think about the details the more holes I see in the film, but the first viewing is in and of itself satisfying and cathartic.
The film is getting a lot of early Oscar hype, I don’t see why. The acting and directing are all good, but nothing stands out as great. I’ll be honest you’re probably going to be a little annoyed that you can figure the crime out before the detective does. I don’t know if this is because the director showed the clues a little too much or because the detectives involved were not that bright, but either way it’s a little annoying.
The movie’s major flaw is the bits and pieces that make no sense. The nature of the central crime doesn’t fully make sense, or at least leaves too many questions at the end of the film. The bits and pieces of Detective Loki’s life (his Masonic ring, his tattoos, his twitch) leave a lot of unanswered questions. I feel that the script for this film was probably a lot more centered on the Detective and the occult nature of the crime and through numerous rewrites became more focused on Jackman’s character and these little bits from the first draft were never removed. It doesn’t ruin the film but it leaves it unsatisfying enough to not get an A.
And then of course there is one little thread still hanging at the end. We hope the detective will figure it out, but we’re kind of putting a lot on the world’s worst detective.
Overall the film is worth seeing, although there is nothing about the big screen presentation that demands you see it now.