Saturday, September 28, 2013

Movies: The Prisoners

(Drivebycuriosity) - How would you respond if a child of yours had suddenly disappeared? The movie "The Prisoners" focuses on 2 befriended families whose daughters are missing (imdb). Both fathers and the police go their own ways to find the girls. The crime drama begins with detective work and self-administered justice and becomes immersed into a sinister freak show.

The complex plot has a many twists and surprises and borrowed a lot from TV crime series like "Criminal Minds" and horror movies. Director  Denis Villeneuve and script writer  Aaron Guzikowski confront their audience also with torture scenes, which are more intense than those in the movie "Zero Dark Thirty", which fell in disgrace because of the torture issue.

My wife said that she lost interest early in the movie because the plot was too construed and some characters were implausible. I enjoyed the movie somewhat in spite of its flaws. One of the reasons is the cinematography by Roger Deakins - who shot "Fargo" and most of the other Coen Brother´s movies. He proved again that he is one of the super stars in his profession. The movie was set in the winterly U.S. North East around Thanksgiving Day. Deakins underlined the scariness of the plot with dark pictures in a sad grey and brown and showed a country were creeps grow like pumpkins. 

The movie also benefitted from the contrast between the leading characters. Hugh Jackman, who is well known as the fantasy movie character "Wolverine", plays a father who tries to regain his daughter with violence.  He is a mucho macho man who shows a lot of physical strength. But he also is paranoid and someone who prepares for a disaster and teaches his son how to survive in a post apocalyptic scenario.
Jake Gyllenhaal plays Jackman`s counterpart as a rational and methodical defective: His character reminded me of his somewhat similar role in David Finches´s movie "Zodiac".
Paul Dano as a mentally challenged suspect and Melissa Leo, as his subdued aunt, also had impressive performances.

I left the cinema theater with mixed feeling.  Even though I agreed with my wife that the plot was over constructed, "The prisoners " gave me something to think about and will stay longer in my mind than many other movies.

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