Pray for the best, prepare for the worst. This is the philosophy of Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) in Prisoners—he definitely experiences the worst.
Dover and his family are visiting their friends, the Birches, for Thanksgiving when the youngest daughter of each family goes missing. The police are informed, and Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) is assigned to the case. The first person the police suspect is Alex Jones (Paul Dano.) Jones is a young man with some form of mental deficiency.
“Prisoners” is a dark film with a focus on morality. The film opens with Dover saying The Lord’s Prayer, and other religious allusions and symbols are used throughout.
Jackman provides an Oscar-worthy performance in his portrayal of a dedicated father who will do whatever it takes to find his daughter. In his search, his faith is tested as well as his sense of morality.
Gyllenhaal also turns in an excellent performance. His character is filled with interesting details such as his tattoos on his fingers and neck, his ring and a tick that causes him to blink often.
Details are also used to provide clues about the plot. A lot of information is packed in the two hours and 26 minutes, and this constantly keeps viewers thinking and guessing. The mood is intense and keeps the lengthy film from feeling like it lasts too long.
“Prisoners” will be making noise come Oscar time. Director Denis Villeneuve and Jackman will receive most of the hype, but everyone involved did an excellent job. As of right now, it’s my front-runner for Best Picture. The bar has been set.