Prisoners review

Desperate times call for desperate measures. A drama with plenty of Academy Award nominees should make for compulsive viewing and this one certainly packs a punch.


Keller Dover’s (Hugh Jackman) daughter and her friend go missing and Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) lets the one lead get away. This calls for a frustrated Dover to take drastic action when time is running out.

Missing children have been prevalent in the news of late. A police system which is slow in handling a case which should take precedence takes more of a backseat here. Writer Aaron Guzikowski has tackled this sensitive issue with gusto. Two fathers and two perspectives dealing with the same ordeal but one is reckless in behaviour and will do anything whilst the other is self controlled. You are pulled right into the heartache of these families because the victims are helpless children and the nightmare is never-ending.

Director Denis Villeneuve creates tension and isolation in the form of distant shots of a deserted neighbourhood, haunting forest and my favourite in films – the reliable rain. There is a sense of voyeurism throughout the film which conveys an eerie and unsettling atmosphere.

A taut pace and enough twists and turns keeps the lengthy drama from falling into a dark hole. You are gripped and guessing throughout. Solid performances from a high calibre starry cast.

Jackman delivers great with volatile anger. Gyllenhaal is on top form with the most difficult role. His character is more internal and has to deal with his own demons. Both strong contenders for an Oscar.

Rahim Galia

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