Prisoners (15)

Directed by David Villeneuve
Starring Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal
On general release from 27th September 2013

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

Clocking in at over 150 minutes this tense thriller is a mite too long, but nevertheless sustains the attention, despite the generally formulaic nature of the screenplay.

As is the norm these days in a lot of films, there are a series of brutal and vicious scenes depicted to add misjudged credence to the story.

The most sickening is when Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman), who has had his daughter abducted, along with his friend's daughter, inflicts stomach churning torture on the main suspect of the crime, Alex Jones (Paul Dano), who had earlier been released by Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal), having no evidence against him.

But Dover is utterly convinced he is the perpetrator. He performs his own act of abduction in snatching Jones and holds him captive in a derelict house. He beats him to a pulp but cannot get the mentally deficit victim, with the IQ of an eleven-year-old, to admit to the evil deed.

He also deprives him of drinking water for five days but the director conveniently forgets that a human would perish within three days. This is just one of several anomalies in the movie.

Nevertheless, there are a lot of praiseworthy aspects of the film, notably the atmospheric cinematography by Brit Roger Deakins. His previous claims to fame include True Grit and No Country for Old Men.

His portrayal of a grey and rainswept district of Pennsylvania, set at the time of Thanksgiving celebrations, is eye-catching and at times highly abstract.

Loki has never failed to solve a crime, so his reputation is at stake with this particular case. He is fanatical in his pursuit to pin the culprit down, which at times becomes almost maze-like - such is the complexity of the chase.

The most pronounced anomaly of the screenplay came in the losing stages.. Why this character, of virtually no significance previously, acted as she did, left me baffled and bewildered (no name, no pack drill!!).

Nevertheless, Prisoners, despite the flaws in its plotline, is worth seeing.

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