365 films in 2016: film 41 (Prisoners 2013)

Screen Shot 2016-02-27 at 17.25.05Prisoners is a very interesting film, it’s also a film i’ve been putting off watching for the last 3 years for some reason, i’ve only heard positive things about it and somehow it flew straight under my radar in 2013 in the sense that i didn’t even look at the cast of the film, but this weekend i decided to sit down and finally put it on, largely due to my girlfriend suggesting it every time I bring up that i’m going to watch something (thanks Emma).

Let me start of by saying Prisoners is how thrillers should be made, from the opening still shot of this movie it feels cold, dark and depressing. You get a feel of what this town is like in the first 5 minutes, what the relationships between the people that live there are like by 10 minutes and by 15 minutes you start to really understand the inner workings of these people. Prisoners keeps building, constantly feeding you new information at a fast pace so much so that it’s easy to get overwhelmed. This isn’t a bad thing, it was intentional, for the majority of the film you’re locked in confusion unable to figure out what’s happened to the missing children, the film throws constant misinformation at you that from a glance all makes the same amount of sense. There was obviously a lot of planning that went into the structure of this story that really mimics the puzzles Detective Loki and Keller have to solve, so i won’t get into it because it is really well written and you should experience it for yourself.

Prisoners does have a very familiar feel to another Jake Gyllenhaal film, Zodiac. Now obviously these films have very little in common other than sharing a genre and a main actor but there are scenes that left me with a feeling of deja vu, this isn’t a bad thing of course because Gyllenhaal’s performance is stellar in Prisoners, his frustrations with the case, his boss, his reputation and Keller all feel real. I loved Detective Loki and if anything i wish there was a little more light shed on his character, but now that i’ve mentioned it that is something that left me feeling a little disappointed with this film, the exposition. While Characters like Loki and Keller are fully fleshed out complex people the others kind of feel like background dressing, even Keller’s wife is kind of just a screen filler at times, I would have loved to see more of these characters and learn more about their lives outside of having children that have been kidnapped (e.g. the scene in the first few minutes where the parents talk about school uniforms).

I really loved this movie, the story alone is fantastic but the inclusion of some great performances (including a haunting portrayal of Alex by Paul Dano, who has developed a knack for these types of characters) and a great soundtrack this film really ties itself together, i can definitely see Prisoners as the type of film that will unravel itself further after more viewings. Prisoners is an 8/10.

 

In 2016 i will be watching 365 films (yes, i know there are 366 days this year) and writing about how I felt about them, I decided to do this just because over the last year or so i’ve Sort of pulled away from film and I wanna start to enjoy watching movies again. This will normally be just notes I made or thoughts I have about the film.

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