There’s nothing like a thriller where Hugh Jackman goes mad, Paul Dano gets tortured AGAIN (what is it with that guy?) and Jake Gyllenhaal rocks an undercut to really improve your Tuesday night.  Plus, I had a choc top.  Winning all round.

Prisoners is based in a gloomy American town in the middle of winter, when Keller’s (Hugh Jackman) young daughter, Anna, and her friend go missing.  Assigned to the case is Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) who quickly arrests Alex (Paul Dano) a shifty-looking guy who was driving the RV that the girls were last seen playing on.

Only thing is, Alex won’t admit to kidnapping them – and he doesn’t seem to have the intelligence to pull off an abduction – and so he is released.  Unfortunately for him, Keller is certain that Alex knows where the girls are, and he is determined to make him talk – even if it involves severe torture methods (actually, I can’t really think of ANY torture methods that aren’t severe).

What I liked most about this film is that, while it was a thriller, and therefore contained far more intense acts, twists and bad guys then most kidnappings, it still brought up the horrific emotions that a person must feel when their child goes missing.  While most of us (I would hope) wouldn’t resort to the extremities that Hugh Jackman’s character did (e.g. water torture), his melodrama showed all of us how terrified and useless a person must feel in that situation.

What scared me even more is that it is so easy for a child to go missing, and wind up literally just around the corner in someone’s basement.  I’m relatively certain that this film went into production before the three abducted girls were found in Cleveland, but it turned out to be a lucky, if somewhat awful, coincidence for them that highlighted how close by a person may be.

Overall the actual production, acting and direction of the film was good, but nothing outstanding.  I always enjoy what Jake Gyllenhaal brings to a character, and while I’m a fan of Hugh Jackman, sometimes when he plays these roles he gets a bit ‘I am man, hear me roar’ (or turns into Wolverine, whichever analogy works for you).  And while the storyline was a tad predictable (massive rain falls, overcast sky etc), the ending did satisfy me and I didn’t feel like I was left hanging.

Perhaps most importantly, I thought this was a thriller that wasn’t too terrifying to detract from the overall storyline, and the questions and emotions that a topic like kidnapping does bring up.  Usually I get terrified at the drop of a hat, but Prisoners had just enough scariness to keep me on the edge of my seat, but enough thought-provoking aspects that I wanted to discuss and analyse it long after it had finished.

For anyone who is a fan of thrillers or of films that make you think, without making you think THAT hard (you know what I mean), then Prisoners is a film that I would recommend for you.  Probably not great first-date material, but if you have someone that you can easily hide behind during the more intense moments, then best to drag them along too.

Have you seen Prisoners?  What did you think? Are you a fan of jake Gyllenhaal or Hugh Jackman? What do you think of kidnappings that occur regularly in America?  Let me know!

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