Run Time: 153 Mins
What To Expect: Hugh Jackman torturing a pervert with a hammer… sold!
Is prisoners a movie for fit for the male demographic/audience? The answer is yes sir, easily a drama/thriller to bring break out a six pack for. I might even say that this is my favorite Hugh Jackman role, an actor I don’t really like, even ahead of X-Men (2000). At last, the guy goes all feral and wild fucking savage. Alright, so maybe that’s an exaggeration, but it’s one of his hardest turns yet and part of the charm of this cold and adult thriller. It’s a bit like Gone Baby Gone (2007), another manly movie by Ben Affleck (great director) that you should check out. Not only is Jackman pulling major alpha screen gravitas in this movie, but Jake Gyllenhaal is unusually watchable here too. I never much liked him either, this movie was again an exception.
The movie presents the story of a pair of children kidnapped outside their home. Jackman, father of one of them, deems the cops to be too lazy in their search and takes matters into his own hands, kidnapping a released suspect to beat some fucking answers out of him. If that sounds like a spoiler, it really isn’t – the movie has more cooking than that. Sometimes actually relaying the best parts and what makes a movie can’t be revealed in a review. I also didn’t think that Hugh Jackman would be an actor who could convincingly kidnap a man and brutalize him in order to get shit done. But he does, and them some. “If we don’t hurt him, they’re going to die.”, thunders Jackman. Can’t argue with that! His acting ranges from convincingly subtle to convincingly explosive.
The other side of the story is loner cop Jake Gyllenhaal, giving what could best be describe as a ‘cool’ performance. He says very little, a thinking cop, the kind that is enjoyable to simply watch make the case. Other film makers wouldn’t have had the skill to go this route of character development and would’ve been afraid of not having him constantly talking. I commend this kind of characterization. One thing though, why is he alone? Don’t detectives go in pairs? Part of Gyllenhaal’s own contract negotiation/stipulation, I’d wager. More screentime, y’see. The movie also has a great soundtrack, sometimes the simple soundtracks are the best. The ones that let the movie get on with it, without intruding. It adds to the atmosphere which is sombre, but not dull or depressing – that’s what makes a good thriller. Any negatives here? Yes, the movie didn’t need to be so long. The same story could’ve been told in 120 minutes (it runs for 150+).