Hugh Jackman’s true Les Miserables followup (The Wolverine doesn’t count) places him in a role that is similarly tragic to Jean Valjean. As the father of one of two young girls kidnapped on Thanksgiving, he has the realistic father drive of circumventing the authorities to find his daughter at any expense.
Jake Gyllenhaal (End of Watch) plays a respectable police officer, stuck in the middle of the kidnapping case. While doing his best to lead by example, his vigilante side cycles in and out as he encounters Jackman’s character. The last two players are the story’s antagonist, played by Paul Dano (12 Years a Slave) and his mother (Melissa Leo, The Fighter) who both have equally mysterious roles.
All our main characters take turns being a prisoner in one way or another. Paul Dano may even put up with the most prisoner behavior (maybe its deserved?) and soars in his almost dialogue-less role. The whole movie shows how unfair and crazy the world can be. Jackman has an incredible performance on the heels of 2012’s Oscar nomination.
Beyond its serious themes, Prisoners is not as disturbing as other films in the same genre. Maybe this is because the visual representation of rape and child abuse disturbs the shit out of me, or the film is dynamically a fairytale. The characters are drawn out very well and each set piece feels like a new chapter. It may be long, but with emotions high and a great ending make it one of the best films of 2013.
By: Jonny Havey | Editor-in-Chief