Prisoners: Weak End to a Strong Film

Partners in Crime: Jake Gyllenhaal, front, and Hugh Jackman have intense chemistry in "Prisoners."

Partners in Crime: Jake Gyllenhaal, front, and Hugh Jackman have intense chemistry in “Prisoners.”

By Alex Lally, ’14

At first I didn’t have high expectations for “Prisoners.” I turned out to be pleasantly surprised with the plot and the chemistry between the two lead actors, Jake Gyllenhaal (“October Sky,” “Donnie Darko”) and Hugh Jackman (“X-Men” film series, “Les Miserables”). The film also had a strong supporting cast consisting of Terrence Howard, Viola Davis, Melissa Leo, Maria Bello, and Paul Dano.

The premise is that Keller Dover (Jackman) and his family are going to the Birch’s (Howard and Davis) for Thanksgiving dinner. Dover’s daughter, Eliza, and Birch’s daughter, Joy, both go outside after dinner to play. The kids vanish and Dover is determined to find them. Detective Loki (Gyllenhaal) is brought on the case, thinking its a simple child abduction, but he finds more than what it appears. Now the chemistry between Dover and Loki is intense. When they first meet it’s mutual between civilian and detective. As the case slowly progresses they become determined to see who can solve the case either by the law or by “other means.”

The biggest problem with “Prisoners” is that it drags on longer than it should, with a running time of two hours and thirty minutes. The ending is also confusing and may leave viewers going “What the heck?” Overall “Prisoners” may at first come off as a generic kidnap story, but the film adds a lot to the typical story archetype. The film gets a four out of five stars for its intense action, good character development and bringing something new to a clichéd plot, but ultimately suffers from the runtime and the ending.

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