He knows, he knows. I can see it in his eyes…Why aren’t you fucking telling me? Why?
– Missing girl Anna’s father Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) screams after torturing a suspect in Prisoners
Two years back the sui generis SearchIndia.com blog introduced all ye philistines, forever hanging on to Bollywood’s teats, to French-Canadian film maker Denis Villeneuve and his heartrending masterpiece Incendies.
A few hours ago, I had a great time watching Villeneuve’s latest film, the brilliant whodunit Prisoners.
Crime thrillers as a genre are uncommon in the world of Indian cinema where trashy romances, with the obligatory item number featuring a stripped down Priyamani, Kareena or one of the other Bollywood babes, reign supreme.
But in my not so humble opinion, a good crime thriller is worth 10 romances, 20 super-hero films or 30 Dabbangs.
Solidly written by Aaron Guzikowski, Prisoners is a highly entertaining crime thriller.
Long though the film may seem by Hollywood standards at 148-minutes, there’s not one boring second.
Two young girls go missing on Thanksgiving Day setting in motion the usual frantic American operation to locate them.
On the police side there is the calm, tireless Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal), who we learn has never failed to crack a case.
On the other side, you have the distraught fathers of the missing girls, the angry White carpenter Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) and his composed African American friend and neighbor Franklin Birch (Terrence Howard).
Throwing all caution to the winds, an agitated Keller barrels down the violent road to find the girls.
To say that Keller Dover pushes the envelope to trace the girls would be an understatement because he violently tears the envelope into unrecognizable strips.
Writer Aaron Guzikowski creates enticing contrasting characters – the calm and composed Detective Loki versus the firecracker Keller Dover who’s convinced the police is not doing enough to trace his daughter Anna.
The highly religious Keller Dover who prays to Jesus before the violent Keller Dover and his son calmly hunt down deers on a quiet snowy winter day.
Franklin Birch uncomfortable and uncertain over his friend Keller’s violent actions vs his wife Nancy’s calm acquiescence to the vicious violence inflicted on the suspect.
Through the course of the film, we come across multiple suspects including a young man Alex Jones (Paul Dano) with the IQ of a 10-year-old.
The beauty of the film is that just when you thought the abductor had been nabbed, it turns out he’s not!
If you’re squeamish about blood, gore and torture, stay at home.
Because there’s blood curdling violence with a capital V in Prisoners.
The three stars of Prisoners are Hugh Jackman as the mad as hell father, Jake Gyllenhaal as the tireless, relentless cop and Paul Dano as the mentally handicapped Alex Jones whose face after repeated violent beatings and torture bears little resemblance to that of a human!
Each delivers a brilliant performance.
Don’t waste your time trying to guess the identity of the abductor, as I did throughout the film, because this is an impossible nut to crack!
For the record, my guess was wrong! 🙁
The grey tones of the photography add the right grim, tense note to the movie.
I’m not sure if the last scene was cute or silly!
Prisoners is playing on screens across America.
Don’t miss this superb crime thriller!