Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal square off in Prisoners, an intense crime thriller directed by Denis Villeneuve and written by Aaron Guzikowski. The all star cast also includes Maria Bello, Terrence Howard, Viola Davis, Melissa Leo, and Paul Dano.
Keller Dover (Jackman) is a man who is dedicated to providing and protecting his family and, when his daughter and her young friend disappear after visiting their neighbor's house for dinner, he is determined to do whatever it takes to get them back.
When a young man named Alex Jones (Dano) is arrested, detained, and then released by the police, Dover decides to take matters into his own hands despite the protests from detective Loki (Gyllenhaal) who is doing everything he can to crack the case.
As clues lead to more dead ends than suspects, Loki finds himself fighting battles on all sides from Dover and Franklin to his own co workers who feel he is obsessing over what might turn out to be his first ever unsolved case. While Loki investigates whatever leads he can dig up, Dover recruits the help of his neighbor Franklin (Howard), who is the father of the other missing girl, and they soon embark on a task that will lead them down a very dark path.
There are so many things to like about this suspenseful thriller including a couple great acting performances to go along with some twists and turns that keep you guessing all the way to the end. Both Jackman and Gyllenhaal will end up with two of the more overlooked performances of the year but that's mainly because the movie itself isn't good enough to receive the kind of hype that awards contenders usually end up getting. For all the positive things I can say about this film, the one major drawback is that it was just too long and drawn out.
There are key moments in the film where the intensity seems to be at its peak and a big payoff is just around the corner, but then everything comes to a screeching halt as Villeneuve seemed to think more plot development was necessary to bring it all home. This happens at least twice before the actual climax and, by the time all the reveals start trickling in, you're almost past the point where you really care any more. Notice I did say almost as this is still a very good movie, but it could have been much better if about 20 minutes of it had been left on the cutting room floor.
At this point, we all know what Hugh jackman is capable of and he definitely delivers, but it was very nice to see Jake Gyllenhaal deliver another rock solid performance like he did in both Source Code and End of Watch. Melissa Leo and Paul Dano are also really good although Howard, Davis, and Bello seemed underused as bit players for how good we know they all are. For this being Denis Villeneuve's first major studio feature, there is very little to complain about although Prisoners does still leave some room for improvement down the road.