Ricky's Film Reviews

Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases



The question on my lips before I even arrived at the cinema tonight, was “what will happen to the little girls?..”

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Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) is a religious father of 2, and committed husband to wife Grace. All seems rather content with the family. Until the day they attend their neighbours Thanksgiving dinner. Because when Keller’s little daughter and her friend (the neighbour’s daughter) leave the house to play outside, what began as a festive family get-together quickly spirals into a living nightmare..

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My first point to touch on has to be the actors (and acting). Prisoners is fuelled with deep emotion and such tensity; Jackman seems to portray a distraught father effortlessly. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if his tear-streaming face and monstrous outbursts win him an Oscar somewhere down the road. However, the movie wasn’t entirely tense. In fact, I was rather surprised at a few of the scenes.

Borderline Black Comedy?

So let me get this straight – the whole premise of a little girl’s disappearance is quite serious, and upsetting?  ..so why were there moments when the audience were LOL-ing?  There were one or two scenes which although deadly serious situations, just came across as bloody funny. One scene where the detective is stood on the doorstep of a suspect, questioning him, made me and other audience members LOL – but perhaps this was the comic relief; the realism of the situation.  In genuinely serious situations I suppose the Police don’t remain completely straight-faced 24/7.  But its just that confusing ‘back & forth’ element of “HA! That’s funny – oh wait, we’re back in a serious bit” 

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Jake: No Longer A Rake

Jake Gyllenhaal seems to be maturing nicely. There were a few moments where I thought “my, haven’t you filled out your pants nicely” – I remember him a few years back (I.E. Love and Other Drugs) him being lean, but still quite lanky. These days he’s rather beefy. He’s wide and strong, and played the detective part brilliantly as he strut around in his (very fashionable) trench coat. Although the mid-90’s ‘curtains’ look with his hair wasn’t great – soon as that fringe flopped down, I nearly leapt out of my chair.  Anyway, his stern expressions and macho swagger managed to keep me entertained.

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Blink And He’ll Miss It

In a word: Blink. Those of you who do see this movie will know what I mean. I don’t know if Jake as an actor has a twitch, or if he still had spunk in his eye from Brokeback Mountain, but the bloke seemed twitch-happy. See if you can spot it.

The main plot happens very quickly. Literally just a few minutes in, I thought “did I miss something?” – but I suppose this was the right way to go. I mean, who wants to sit and watch bullshit family chat about “the farm taking less profits this year compared to last year”?  So the movie opened, the story immediately unfolds, and then the rest of it barrels into emotional oblivion. Or perhaps that should be torturous oblivion..

When Keller takes the law into his own hands, and abducts Alex (Paul Dano) the main suspect and target of the girl’s disappearance, the subsequent scenes are shocking. As days pass, Alex is locked up in an abandoned housing block and tortured by the two husbands – or rather – Keller (the second daughter’s father is nothing short of non-existant and more spectator material)  Again, Jackman’s acting skill reaches new heights as he swings mallets, delivers near-death punches, and outdoes himself on D.I.Y. when he shoves the suspect into a tight wall cavity and somehow fixes up the derelict building’s plumbing, as he showers him in scalding-hot water..  These parts of the movie brought instant physical and vocal reaction form us audience, and I noticed a few people I was sat near, covering their faces with their hands.  (at one stage, Alex is so badly beaten his entire head resembles a brightly-coloured pumpkin)

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In a nutshell, not a bad little movie. Its tense, and creates a brilliant “who did it?” response. My only gripe is the fact that halfway through, it seems to split and branch off into different directions (I.E. a character is introduced – so we get a swift background check on them, before returning to the main story in hand) – these sub-stories unfortunately slow the process down, but I suppose the director used the ‘no stone unturned’ element. Prisoners seems to be a cult-style thriller which engulfs its audience in a sense of dread, pity and emotional disarray – whilst keeping them on their toes at the same. 

You will no doubt enjoy this movie if you enjoyed Ransom, Taken, Law Abiding Citizen.

The closing scene leaves the movie at a cliffhanger – it involves the detective, and the main father, and poses a situation which is a real test of moral humanity..

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..but did Keller capture the right man?

..could a family member be in on the kidnap?

..will Jake Gyllenhaal indulge in a bottle of Optrex?

And what actually happens to the girls?… 

Dread, Panic, Hysteria, Rage.

Worth a watch.


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This entry was posted on September 28, 2013 by .
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