French-Canadian Director Denis Villenueve makes his American film debut with the powerful film 'Prisoners,' about the kidnapping of two young girls and the subsequent results as the father of one of the girls(Keller Dover, played by Hugh Jackman) takes matters into his own hands after losing faith in the young hotshot detective(Loki, played by Jake Gyllenhaal) who was assigned to the case. The slow-moving approach to the film and throughout helps build up the tension, as the many mysteries in this particular case carry on all the way to the end. Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal run this film with great chemistry and provide some intense scenes in this thriller that tries to keep you guessing until the very end.
Alex Jones (Paul Dano) is the main suspect behind the kidnapping, but is released from jail just days later because of lack of evidence. Keller is infuriated, believing he had something to do with the kidnapping despite the lack of solid proof. He decides to take matters into his own hands with the reluctant help of his friend Franklin(Terrance Howard), who's daughter was also kidnapped. What follows is a serious, if not realistic take on a father desperate to get his daughter back, and what he is willing to do in order to accomplish that. Plenty of leads and suspects arise as the truth is slowly revealed, and the ending benefits from the tension and multiple mysteries that spread throughout, making it difficult to guess where the story is headed and what the final resolution will be.
'Prisoners' is not an action movie, it is more a thriller/drama on how far a regular man can go for his family, and the consequences that his actions may bring about. Hugh Jackman shows off his acting ability, playing a vulnerable man and successfully creating a character we can all relate to. The supporting cast is great, with each of the characters serving an important purpose in the story telling while smoothly moving it along throughout the long run time.
Great performances by the lead characters(Jake Gyllenhaal has some great scenes), along with cinematography by the great Roger Deakins and a wonderful directorial debut by Denis Villenueve mesh together to create an incredibly well-polished film. Despite the long running time, 'Prisoners' moves at a wonderful pace as each scene adds more and more to the story and builds upon itself until the final scenes.