In his first foray into Hollywood filmmaking, Québécois filmmaker Denis Villeneuve knocks it out of the park with a taut, troubling thriller that has deservedly been compared to the work of David Fincher.
It deals with many disturbing things, starting with child abduction – one of the many reasons why I could never have kids. It’s a scary world out there, and I can’t imagine the fear and the pain that must fill a parent when their offspring goes missing.
This is what happens to Hugh Jackman and Maria Bello, as well as to their friends Terrence Howard and Viola Davis early in “Prisoners”, when both couples’ daughter disappears. And then… Well, the least you know about what follows, the better.
What I can tell you is that this leads to some devious twists and to some truly brutal scenes, in regards to violence but also just sheer emotion, and the deeper we get into things, the more morally ambiguous and creepy as fuck the film gets.
Villeneuve directs it all masterfully, working from a powerful screenplay by Aaron Guzikowski with priceless assists from cinematographer extraordinaire Roger Deakins, who gives “Prisoners” its grim, gritty look, and from composer Jóhann Jóhannsson, whose music contributes greatly to maintaining the tense atmosphere of the piece.
Best of all is the brilliant acting by the top notch cast, particularly the super raw and intense Hugh Jackman, who delivers one of his best performances ever. I also thought Jake Gyllenhaal was tremendous as the cop leading the investigation into the little girls’ disappearance.
“Pray for the best. Prepare for the worst.”