Prisoners (2013) - The best acting performances of the year - 9/10 (25/09/13)
I have seen many good movies from all around the world this year but "Prisoners" seems to be the best North American film of the year so far. It's not so much about the story of the movie that recalls the French Canadian "7 Days" movie by Daniel Grou that was inspired by a Patrick Senécal novel. Both films tell the story of a desperate family father who seeks revenge on a strange suspect for kidnapping (or worse?) his daughter while everything around him is suddenly falling apart.
The impressive things about "Prisoners" are others. One must mention the constant dark atmosphere of the movie. This is due to the intensive story that is in fact the worst nightmare for any loving father or mother on earth. This movie is an intense mixture of the drama and thriller genres with a few decently used gore scenes and scary moments that aren't a far call from the horror genre.
Each character shown in this movie is going through really hard times from the family father, his wife, his son and his best friends over the more and more isolated detective to the suspected kidnapper and a strange copycat kidnapper.
In addition to this, most of the time in this movie the sky looks very grey, it's raining or actions take place in the middle of almost moonless nights.
The inoffensive but dark and somewhat uneasy score underlines this depressive film noir approach.
Not only the French Canadian director Denis Villeneuve who created the intense drama "Incendies" in the past delivers a detailed and intense work. The most outstanding thing is the acting. Hugh Jackman plays the role of his life as a desperate family father who is slowly going insane and ready to do anything to save his daughter. It's hard to portray a character who is going through such an incredible nightmare but Hugh Jackman is always convincing. You can feel his emotions in every word he speaks, in every move he makes and in every breath he takes. This acting performance should be worthy of an Academy Award. Jake Gyllenhaal is just as great and also does his best acting performance. He portrays a visibly nervous detective if you just take a look on his almost hyperactive eye movements. We see a detective who tries to be professional and dedicated to his job but who gets more and more isolated and who starts making more and more mistakes. By the end of the movie, the kidnapping case has also become something almost personal for him as he acts beyond rationality to solve the case. Jake Gyllenhaal's performance is also worthy of an Academy Award. The supporting actors are also doing a fine job. Especially Paul Dano convinces as inscrutable and unpredictable suspect. His aunt portrayed by Melissa Leo gets better and better as the movie progresses.
The tension of the story gets more and more elevated towards the end. I don't want to reveal any twists but let's say that I didn't see the incredible revelations coming. During the last thirty minutes or so, the movie even got me more on the edge of my seat than it was the case before. These last thirty minutes introduce a whole new dimension to the movie. Some viewers may dislike this new approach but I thought that it added even more intensity to the film.
At the end of the day, this is an atmospheric, intense and extremely well acted film noir that mixes credible drama elements with gripping and sometimes scary crime passages. If you care for any of these genres, you can't get around this movie this year. I hope it will win a couple of Academy Awards next year as I can hardly see any better Hollywood movie these days. I'm convinced this will be considered as a classic or one of the best movies of all times one day.« Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013) - It's different but it does live up to the first chapter - 9/10 (15/09/13)Lee Daniel's The Butler (2013) - A beautiful statement for the liberty of the Afro-American community - 8/10 (26/09/13) »
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