For a film that had so much trouble landing its leading men in the wind-up to production, it’s incredible how well director Dennis Villeneuve’s “Prisoners” turned out. An unpredictable, white knuckle thriller that rarely lets up, I guess the fact so many good actors took a swing at the film’s two major roles before Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal finally landed the gigs is evidence of the movie’s strong script. All of that comes through in the movie, now hitting DVD/Blu-ray this December 17, 2013.
How far would you go to protect your family? Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) is facing every parent’s worst nightmare. His six-year-old daughter, Anna, is missing, together with her young friend, Joy, and as minutes turn to hours, panic sets in. The only lead is a dilapidated RV that had earlier been parked on their street. Heading the investigation, Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) arrests its driver, Alex Jones (Paul Dano), but a lack of evidence forces his release.
Thrillers don’t get any more intense than “Prisoners”, which features outstanding performances across the board, anchored by Jackman as the dad determined to do anything in his power to get his abducted child back. Gylenhaal is similary excellent as the detective racing against the clock. The supporting cast all turn in fine performances, and “Incendies” director Villeneuve’s work behind the camera is simply superb, capturing your attention from Act One and never letting go. “Prisoners” is definitely not an easy film to sit through, but it’s well worth the effort.
I don’t want to give too much of the film away, so I’ll just leave it to you to read the plot synopsis above. Just know that that’s only the beginning. There is more. Much, much more. It’s intense stuff, with a strong script that never takes the easy road out. The entire cast deserves accolades, from Maria Bello and Viola Davis as the mothers of the abducted kids, to Melissa Leo as the mother of the main suspect. Questions of right and wrong, responsibilities, and justice are muddled and filled with minefields. Wade into it at your own peril.
This is definitely one of those Blu-ray releases where you’re just buying it for the movies. The Blu-ray comes with a ten-minute featurette called “Powerful Performances” featuring interviews with the cast, and the shorter “Every Moment Matters”. I guess they thought the movie was more than enough. They’re not entirely wrong, but it would have been nice to have just a little bit something extra. I can’t help but think a blooper reel, for instance, would have been kind of awesome, but maybe that’s just my sick sense of humor talking.