A lot of my friends have been urging me to watch Denis Villeneuve’s first English-language film, Prisoners. I’m a big fan of his work, and I firmly believe he’s one of the best filmmakers in the world at the moment, so this, coupled with all the hype my friends made about it, meant that I went into this film with high expectations, and it didn’t disappoint.
Prisoners follows Hugh Jackman’s Keller Dover, his daughter goes missing in mysterious circumstances. Growing disillusioned with the police investigation, led by Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal), Keller decides to take the law into his own hands.
That’s all I’m going to say in regards to the plot, because I feel that this film is best experienced without knowing too much, and I would hate to spoil elements of the story for someone who, like myself, hasn’t seen Prisoners and may decide to watch it.
What I can say, though, is that it is brilliant. It looks absolutely stunning for one, and you can understand why Villeneuve was the choice to helm Blade Runner 2049 after watching this film. The story is utterly captivating from the beginning, and you won’t be able to take your eyes off of the action unfolding before you. It’s extremely tense, suspenseful and disturbing, you’ll undoubtedly feel unsettled at times but you won’t be able to avert your gaze. I haven’t felt so gripped by a psychological thriller in a very long time, not only does it nail the atmosphere perfectly, it nails the story, which is crafted beautifully and left me both shocked and satisfied.
But, the most impressive thing about this film is without a doubt, the performances. I can confidently say that I believe that this is Hugh Jackman’s strongest performance, he is absolutely phenomenal. You feel his pain, his anger, his anguish throughout, it’s an Oscar-worthy performance and I was in awe at his acting on more than one occasion. Jake Gyllenhaal is equally brilliant, Detective Loki brings a calmness to proceedings, but Gyllenhaal brings a complexity to what could be a one-dimensional character that means that his performance is equally award-worthy. The rest of the cast are brilliant too, there’s not a single bad performance in this film.
So, take all of these factors and put them together, well, you’ve got a winner. I’m so glad that I finally watched Prisoners, and you should do the same if you haven’t done so already. Trust me, you won’t regret it.
I give Prisoners a 9/10.