Jackman is ‘outstanding’ in ‘Prisoners’

Logan Qualls | reporter

We have all had that moment when are our worst fears are confirmed. When our nightmare becomes a terrifying reality.
Denis Villeneuve, director, explores this experience while engaging audiences to question how far they would go to make that nightmare end in his latest release “Prisoners.”
Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman; “X-Men”, “Les Misérables”) is a religious man with a wife and two kids, a son and daughter.
He and his family join their friends, the Birches, for a Thanksgiving meal. Amid the fun, his daughter Anna asks to take Joy to look for her emergency whistle back at their house, which is just down the street.
The girls leave and the merriment continues, yet when the girls are late to return the families scramble to track down their daughters.
With no sign of the girls at either family’s home, Keller’s son, David (Dylan Minnette), recalls that there was an RV that had attracted the two 6-year-old girls’ attention earlier that day when on a walk with David and Joy’s older sister, Eliza (Zoe Borde).
Keller and his son race to the spot where the RV was parked, with no sign of the girls or the RV.
Detective Loki is eating alone at a restaurant when a sighting of the RV is reported. When on scene, Loki takes charge as the police cautiously approach the RV. Without warning, the vehicle lurches into motion as the driver tries to make a desperate escape but instead succeeds in crashing the RV into a tree.
A young man, Alex Jones (Paul Dano; “Looper”, “Little Miss Sunshine”), is found hiding inside and subsequently brought in for questioning.
A uniformly stellar performance from the cast, Jackman and Jake are outstanding as each presents a complex character with subtle hints of a darker past.
Keller, alluding to a past with alcoholism, begins to slip into old habits as the stress slowly hones him into an entity with a single, all-consuming purpose. Stress gives way to savagery, as his actions become increasingly driven by rage compounded with fear. Jackman does a fantastic job of showing the emotional and mental turmoil his character, Keller, suffers.
Gyllenhaal’s performance as Detective Loki evokes the imagination of the audience. Little information about the detective’s past is overtly shown to the audience, instead relying on the character’s nuances to tell his story.
Much more than just the “bad cop,” Loki has endured hardships and managed to come out whole if scarred. His tenacity as a detective is a major driving force for the narrative of the film.
The film’s use of lighting and sound are effective and help to grasp the audience’s attention. Original music by Johann Johannsson matches the tone of the film, hauntingly beautiful and enigmatic.
“Prisoners” works as any great crime thriller should, slyly providing the pieces of the puzzle for the audience to assemble as the action plays on screen.
This slow construction culminates in the “aha! moment,” rewarding those who manage to solve the maze.

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