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Like Clint Eastwood’s sadistically bleak Mystic River, Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners presents its protagonists with an unimaginable horror: the abduction of their young daughters. As Pennsylvania patriarchs driven to the edge by the disappearance of their 7-year-olds, Hugh Jackman’s and Terrance Howard’s faces are mapped with anguish as their characters go to extreme measures to bring home their daughters. Gloom lurks around every corner of the rain-drenched world. Nary a ray of light gets in. But unlike Mystic River, this year’s first high-profile awards contender wrings pulp out of the proceedings, something Eastwood was too busy torturing his characters to try. That’s not to say Prisoners is better than the overrated Mystic River, but it is far more watchable. After all, we want to watch our villains suffer, so most audiences will thrill at the idea of Jackman, shedding his Wolverine costume but not the menace, kidnapping and torturing a suspect (Paul Dano) in an effort to translate his pain into answers. Scenes between Jackman, Howard and the impressive Dano are wonderfully tense, but the film loses traction whenever Jake Gyllenhaal enters. As a hotshot detective, Gyllenhaal is perfectly effective, but it’s during his investigation that the mystery derails into total pulp. Still, Villeneuve, who exploded onto the scene with 2010’s devastating Incendies, shows endless potential in his U.S. debut. It may not have the endlessly pummeling effect of Mystic River or Ben Affleck’s Gone Baby Gone, but in terms of child-abduction thrillers, it’s engaging and gut-wrenching—without diving into an abyss of emotional torture in the name of entertainment.
  • Genres: Thriller
  • Running Time: 153 minutes
  • Release Date: Friday, September 20, 2013
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English
  • MPAA Rating: R [ Disturbing Violent Content, Language Throughout, Torture ]
  • Critic's Score: B
  • Starring: Hugh Jackman [Keller Dover], Jake Gyllenhaal [Det. Loki], Viola Davis [Nancy Birch], Maria Bello [Grace Dover], Terrence Howard [Franklin Birch], Melissa Leo [Holly Jones], Paul Dano [Alex Jones], Dylan Minnette [Ralph Dover], Zoe Soul [Eliza Birch], Erin Gerasimovich [Anna Dover], Kyla-Drew Simmons [Joy Birch], Wayne Duvall [Capt. Richard O'Malley], Len Cariou [Father Patrick Dunn], David Dastmalchian [Bob Taylor]
  • Directed by: Denis Villeneuve [Director], Aaron Guzikowski [Screenwriter], Broderick Johnson [Producer], Kira Davis [Producer], Andrew A. Kosove [Producer], Adam Kolbrenner [Producer], Edward L. McDonnell [Executive Producer], John Starke [Executive Producer], Robyn Meisinger [Executive Producer], Mark Wahlberg [Executive Producer], Stephen Levinson [Executive Producer], Roger Deakins [Cinematographer], Patrice Vermette [Production Design], Joel Cox [Film Editor], Gary Roach [Film Editor], Renée April [Costume Designer], Jóhann Jóhannsson [Original Music], Kerry Barden [Casting], Paul Schnee [Casting], Paul Kelly [Art Director], Frank Galline [Set Decoration]
  • Visit the Movie Website | Watch the trailer

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  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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