I was a little hesitant in seeing Prisoners, as when i saw the trailers, i thought straight away that that they gave everything away. Had it shown us what really happened, who the kidnapper was and if any major twists that would ruin the film? Well many people thought so. I had a look on a few forums and websites, and everyone were the same. Had the trailers just ruined the whole premise of the film, well fortunately not. So here I am after watching Prisoners, quite happy that i was proved wrong, and I had just watched an enjoyable albeit a little dragged out crime drama.
We’re pretty much thrown straight into things. After a small family thanksgiving get together, and a little more booze than initially thought, the dads Keller and Franklin (Hugh Jackman and Terrence Howard) along with mothers Grace and Nancy, (Maria Bello and Viola Davis) relax and wind down with a few games. After allowing their two young daughters to go outside and play about by their home which also has a creepy looking, dirty, dingy, RV camper van near by, it suddenly becomes apparent that their children are missing, and once its noticed that this suspect RV has also gone walkabouts, the conclusion is that their kids have been abducted.
This leads to a police hunt led by Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) promising that he will find these kids no matter what. The camper van being the supposed key to everything, has learning impaired Alex Jones at the wheel (played superbly by Paul Dano) all caught up in a story with numerous turns, twists and submissions, that it continuously keeps the viewer guessing whats going on, and who is behind everything that happens in front of their eyes. In the closing stages of the film, its seems all a little rushed in regards to the twist, but if paying enough attention, the audience should clock on with what is happening and have the reveal before the characters. A good few clues are thrown straight in front of our eyes, and I quite liked the fact that we could work this out before the some of the characters, as we were seeing things from a different perspective.
Loki, the fathers, and the mothers all go through the emotions, with varying differences in how these families cope with the taking of these girls. Some take the vengeful route, others take matters in to their own hands, and some break down into an emotional wreck, disregarding anything else in the world to them. This is very apparent in the way the mothers deal with this current loss, one very different from the other.
Some aspects within the film come across slightly strange, mainly for me, the police side of things and the way Keller acts. There really is only Loki looking for these children, trying to piece together what has happened, and how to solve it. Yes every now and then another police officer is seen, but generally with two girls missing, I would have thought a bigger police presence would have been on the scene. This might be because Loki has some demons of his own that is pushing him towards this case, but still it looked all a bit sparse. Keller on the other hand, when taking action into his own hands, seems so intent on one person, with really nothing to go on at most times, that his actions just seemed out of the blue for who he is and what he did. Yes his child is missing, but what he does, and somehow with complete ease, seems farfetched in the way he gets away with it, but again that may loop to the lack of police presence, Keller is easily able to do what he wants, when he wants, to try and force answers that he wants to hear, because no one is stopping him.
I thought the film would build up the families a bit more, show us who these people are, what they are like, build a relationship with the viewer before the kidnapping took place. But nope, 10-15 mins in and the films major plot begins, the two young children we are briefly introduced to have been taken, and the story starts. We were never really given any real close knit family moments, or any real introduction to the two girls, but if we were shown this, it may may have made Prisoners even darker than it is. Yes the terrible aspect of these two children taken is bad enough here, its strong enough to make the audience greatly care, and the story twists continue to intrigue, but that slight cover from the director, making the viewers not attached to these specific children by name, may have made the emotional absorbing rollercoaster of a story , that little bit easier to watch. However i did enjoy the relationship between Alex Jones and his grandmother. It was well thought out initially, but again would have liked certain parts to have been explained further.
The film goes on for over 150 minutes, which at times feels like its dragging, but weirdly enough certain scenes, as like previously said, the reveal, the twist, feels rushed. I enjoyed Prisoners from the off. Some of the characters actions were questionable at the least, but the twists are interesting, and the whole building up to the reveal is done well. Prisoners has a solid story, fantastic acting, and some very emotional tense scenes. Still with a few plot holes here and there in full force once the credits roll you may be left wanting a little more.