I always wondered about the timing of the release of this one. The trailers for it initially started running not long after those three kidnapped girls had been rescued from that house in Cleveland. Of course I know this joint would have been in the works long before we discovered that tragedy. However, I can't help but think Hollywood found a way to cash in on it on the sly. Still, the premise looked interesting so I was in.
"Prisoners" tells the story of Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) who is facing every parent's worst nightmare. His six-year-old daughter, Anna, is missing, together with her young friend, Joy, and as minutes turn to hours, panic sets in. The only lead is a dilapidated RV that had earlier been parked on their street. Heading the investigation, Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) arrests its driver, Alex Jones (Paul Dano), but a lack of evidence forces the only suspect's release. Knowing his child's life is at stake, the frantic Dover decides he has no choice but to take matters into his own hands.
The first thing I thought of when I originally saw the trailers (besides the fact that they may have been borrowing the idea from that most recent story in the news) was that they were perhaps trying to update "Gone Baby Gone". Still not sure that's not 100% the case. It attempted to tug at the same type of heart strings. Just taking a more edgier way to do it. And Hollywood is known for rehashing old storylines anyway. Especially when the original one garnered Academy Awards.
Now as for the argument this movie presents of "how far would you go?"...this movie presents one rather extreme version. I'm pretty sure that any father worth his mettle could put theirselves in Keller's shoes and want to do the same thing to find their child. Especially their little girl. However, we all wouldn't have the financial means to do it to the extent that Keller did. As far as the voracious tenacity? I don't think that would be an issue at all.
About the only thing I didn't like about "Prisoners" was I was able to tell very early on who the culprit was. I'm just guessing that it was not supposed to be that easy to figure out. Just basing that off the fact that from the interviews I saw regarding this movie it was always brought up that there was supposed to be a twist ending. The reveal was no surprise to me. In fact, I was a little disappointed that the reveal didn't come with more resolve since the culprit should have been easily overpowered to thwart further action. That was probably the best I've done at not giving away too much of a crucial plot point.
Where this did excel was with the outstanding acting from every single person involved in it. I can't help but think that Jackman may have taken this on in an effort to finally get that elusive Academy Award. I doubt this is the vehicle that will get it for him, but he certainly made a valid argument. As for Gyllenhaal, am I the only one that can never get past the fact that he's evolved TREMENDOUSLY since his role in "Bubble Boy"? And Dano was by far the show stealer here. So much so that he may have just typecast himself for future roles.
If "Prisoners" was meant to be a more modern "Gone Baby Gone", it didn't measure up quite the same. It came close, but the fact that I was able to figure it out so early on in the flick took a little away from it. Just a little though. There was plenty going on here to make this a movie very worthwhile.
My rating: A -