By Hannah Gamache
Junior, English Major
When Keller Dover’s (Hugh Jackman) six-year-old daughter and her friend go missing after Thanksgiving dinner, the disappearance of the girls is investigated by Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal). After the prime suspect is released from jail, Dover decides to take matters into his own hands in Prisoners.
Prisoners is a thrilling drama that evokes the mystery of a good detective film. It is realistic, intelligent, and meticulously executed. Unlike many scary movies, Prisoners does not rely on grotesque supernatural elements or something jumping out at you for cheap thrills. Its realism is what makes the movie frightening and exciting. The characters and plot are compelling enough to keep you alert and on edge. As a good mystery story should, it leaves clues from the beginning that a viewer with a keen eye will pick up on. Little by little, the audience is given new pieces of the puzzle, each piece causing you to question your latest theory.
The film is also sprinkled with some violent moments that contribute to the film’s overall intensity. The violence, while sometimes brutal, is not gratuitous and does not detract at all from the film. Dover’s conscience and will are pushed to their limits as he does everything that he can to search for his daughter. The actors’ emotional performances are outstanding, and whenever the f-bomb is dropped—which is rather frequently—it never seems unjustified. It’s refreshing.
One of the best parts of the film was its use of music. The lack of music during the most intense scenes allowed the actors’ raw emotions to shine through. When the soundtrack was used, it was done with mastery, escalating suspense at precisely the moments that it was needed. The musical choices helped make Prisoners one of the best suspense movies this year.
Prisoners is an exceptional thriller that puts others in the genre to shame. Even with big-name talent like Jackman and Gyllenhaal, I was not expecting Prisoners to be as intriguing and exhilarating as it is. If you like mystery, action, horror, or gritty drama, you should go out of your way to see this film.