Movie – Prisoners [REVIEW] – Every Moment Matters

IMDB Rating: 8,1/10
Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Writer: Aaron Guzikowski
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis


Denis Villeneuve always presents a bafflement in his movies. For example, as I’ve seen such as Blade Runner 2049 and Arrival. Prisoners is a film that’s made on by him as well. This Canadian director finally made a movie that I can say a movie with a labyrinth and most confusing puzzle that makes the audience drive crazy. In this movie too, Denis brings his actors such as Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal. We all certainly know who is Hugh Jackman, the actor who becomes the Wolverine in the X-Men franchise and Logan. Recently, he also played in a biography film called The Greatest Showman who earned an Oscar nomination this year for the Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song) category. In this film, Prisoners was nominated for Oscar as the Best Achievement in Cinematography. With the wonderful cinematographic by Roger Deakins, Prisoners became a puzzle movie from inception to surface.

“Prisoners,” tells about Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman), his wife Grace Dover (Maria Bello), and his teenage son Ralph Dover (Dylan Minnette) and daughter Anna Dover (Erin Gerasimovich) goes to his neighbor Franklin Birch (Terrence Howard), his wife Nancy Birch (Viola Davis), his teenage Eliza Birch (Zoë Soul) and his daughter Joy Birch (Kyla-Drew) together celebrated the day in a lunch party. Anna and Joy want to go play outside and Ralph looks after them. These kids play near an ROV and Ralph takes them home. Later, Anna asks her father to go to his house with Joy to go pick up an emergency whistle and Keller tells her to go with Ralph or Eliza. However, the whole family realized that the children went alone and then vanished without a trace. They finally decided to call the police department and Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) will handle the case. Initially, Detective Loki found someone who was Alex Jones (Paul Dano) became suspected because he was the one who brought the ROV. Later, they find out that Alex is someone who has an IQ like a 10-year-old boy. When he came out with his aunt Holly Jones (Melissa Leo), Keller immediately pushed him from behind. Keller demanded that Alex must be in jail during the investigation but Loki could not help it. When Detective Loki undertook the investigation, Keller decided to kidnap Alex for torture. A case that can’t be mistaken for who’s wrong and who’s right will be an endless maze.

Paul Dano and Melissa Leo in Prisoners (2013)

Denis Villeneuve always brings us a movie with full of intense. Blade Runner 2049 is proof of why this movie received an Oscar award for the Best Cinematography and Best Visual Effects categories this year. So likewise with Arrival, won the Oscar award in the category of Best Achievement in Sound Editing in 2017. Both of these movies have the intrinsic side altogether, the story that makes us want to solve the cases that exist in both films and later all, these expectations and intense will arrangements which the audience didn’t expect that. In Prisoners, the premise that presented in this movie is very simple. Kidnapping and captivity are two sentences as well as mystery film that have the same issue. Though this movie goes linearly without anything that preventing it with a flashback, Prisoners is not that easy to understand the way the story goes. The audience will always question “Who’s the kidnapper?” as we watch it, we will be invited into a labyrinth with full of puzzles to explore. In this film, Hugh Jackman and Jack Gyllenhaal battle for acting. The plot of the film will always be shown alternately from these two people, sometimes they are together, and sometimes individually even though they have the same aim of solving the case. However, they both have the uniqueness in bringing out this investigation. Keller Dover is a religiously portrayed character. You can see him that he always praying and saying the Bible verses when he is in a depression. Particularly, this character is strengthened again when he tortured Alex Jones. He just like a tormented character inside, not wanting to do that but being forced because he has been emotionally controlled by this case. On the other hand, Detective Loki is a calm character but sometimes rages in some scenes. He always showed us a mysterious, calm appearance, always astonished by the clue he always fought. However, this character is also augmented where he has promised to Keller that he will resolve the case as soon as possible. In the end, he’s a failure person, a guilty, and as taking responsibility for the case. Both of these characters have their pros and cons. They don’t trust each other and have the same goal, but have their own way to solve them.

Jake Gyllenhaal in Prisoners (2013)

In addition to these two characters, this movie also takes a lot of different perceptions when you watch this movie. We as an audience are also difficult to identify which one is right and which one is wrong. Therefore, the atmosphere that built in this movie doesn’t make us fall asleep and is so good thanks to Roger Deakins who always well-develop as unique ways. Although is like that, I don’t like the transitions that always seem suddenly as if the atmosphere of it’s intense has improved but it’s fall and gaping from what will happens next. Some of the ones I always notice from Roger Deakins and Denis Villeneuve, they always show us the sign of the cross and a tree that describes the tree of life. Maybe, Denis Villeneuve wants to convey some message where’s not everyone is always fixated on faith. Some of the ones I saw were also the tattoos of Detective Loki, Keller who always prayed to God, and some of the other characters. The first clue that collected at the beginning is a twig the beginning of the outside scene is shown close up in a tree, and there are much more that relate to both. Some of what I estimated to be a disappointment is when the scoundrel has been found. I will not spoiler here but, maybe I’m just expecting a plot-twist or something. However, this scene seems not to be made like the mystery movies in general. I don’t feel like “Turns out, he’s been a culprit all along!” or things that made me not suspect it so I suppose this movie is a bit predictable. However, I prefer to enjoy the labyrinth rather than the scene when the culprit has been found. I also love the 30 seconds to the ambiguity ending. This scene shows the gesture and face of closes up of Jack Gyllenhaal that full of meaning but without any dialogue, we still didn’t know what happens next.

Hugh Jackman in Prisoners (2013)

Jack Gyllenhaal is the best in this movie. Compared to Hugh Jackman, Jack Gyllenhaal is the best of all. He plays his character with a stinging, cool, calm expression, a gimmick that looks cocky outward but so restless inside. Jack Gyllenhaal is an actor who takes all the spotlight here than Hugh Jackman. Despite that, I also prefer Hugh Jackman who plays in movies like this than he plays as Wolverine. His gimmick and his gesture are very different than watching X-Men or The Wolverine movies. He’s acting is so well, so obvious, so emotional, full of desperate and well-development. The character that looks tortured outside and inside is the Hugh Jackman I like. However, Jack Gyllenhaal is the best if facing acting with Hugh Jackman. Besides the two of them, Viola Davis also played well in this movie. But, she’s not as I think when compared to her when playing as Rose Maxson in Fences. Paul Dano also has a very cool and mysterious gesture in this movie. Although with a little dialogue, he managed to portray a character who has a low IQ in this film. Maria Bello and Terrence Howard have also played well in this movie. Prisoners seem to have a well-cast and great acting across the actors and the actresses.


Overall, Prisoners is a movie that will drive you crazy. This film is full of thrilling and intense of all the Denis Villeneuve films he’s ever made. Although the premise seems very simple, the stories and scripts written by Aaron Guzikowski seem well-written. With the help of Roger Deakins, he showed such a beautiful cinematography. Jack Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman battle acting in this film. Their characters are really good and well-development. The entire actor and actress have also played well in this movie. However, Prisoners is a film that invites its audiences to enter into the enigmatic and endless labyrinth so that in the end, some of the questions that arise are still unanswered.

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