Movie Review: Prisoners

PrisonersTitle: “Prisoners”

Director: Denis Villeneuve

Writer: Aaron Guzikowski

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Two families daughters go missing on Thanksgiving Day with the only clue to their disappearance being a dilapidated RV parked on their street owned by a mentally handicapped man (played by Paul Dano). After the police have to let him go for lack of evidence, one of the fathers is convinced that this man knows more than he is telling. How far would you go to protect your family?

Sounds exciting, right? Well, in a way, it is. The movie tells a solid story, the actors play their parts excellently, especially Paul Dano who gives the role just the right amount of creep to make the audience unsure how much he really knows. It’s disturbing to see the lengths these character go to find their children. But it’s supposed to be disturbing, so mission accomplished.

However, the story is a little too solid. It follows a classic story structure so rigidly that the film loses a certain natural fluidity that makes a film unexpected and refreshing. There is nothing refreshing or new here. It’s a retread of old stories, right down to the “surprise” ending, which isn’t much of a surprise and if you pay any attention during the movie, you will see it coming a mile away.

It’s a pretty standard story with few risks that we haven’t seen before, which makes this movie solid but lacking charm. As a result, it’s one of those films that tries really hard, but only manages to come out as “okay.”

“Prisoners earns 3 out of 5 stars.

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