I first read the review of Prisoners in Jordan and Eddie (The Movie Guys) blog [Link to post] which piqued my interest given that I already had a copy of the movie with me. I decided to watch the movie and it did not disappoint me at all. In fact, it probably rates as one of the best thriller movies that I have seen in a long time, and for whatever reason it reminded me of Gone Baby Gone [Link to review] which I had seen 5 yrs ago on almost exactly the same date 😀 That movie also dealt with a missing girl and how coincidental can that be.
A short summary of the movie itself is provided below and is completely spoiler free.
Keller Dover’s (Hugh Jackman) Thanksgiving is spoilt when his daughter Anna and his neighbor’s daughter Joy go missing. Detective Loki (Jake Gylenhall) apprehends the suspicious RV which had been parked in the neighborhood when the girls disappeared. The driver of the RV Alex Jones (Paul Dano) tries to escape but is taken into police custody, where it pans out that he only has an IQ of a ten year old and is release due to lack of evidence.
Keller however is not convinced that Alex is innocent and goes on to kidnap and torture him with the intention of finding out where the girls have been taken to. In the meantime Loki pursues another thread of investigation which involves a man sneaking up to the girls’ homes at night and purchasing children’s clothes at a supermarket. This leads him to Bob Taylor at his home. However, that also ends up in a dead end, which also involved an elaborate set up for a hoax.
What happens for the rest of the movie is not something that I intend to give away in this review as it will completely spoil the entire movie for any of you interested in watching this movie. Suffice to say that the movie does not disappoint on any counts.
What I loved about this movie is the fact that unlike action based thrillers which have the clichéd car chases, high octane action sequences, etc, this movie takes its time to build the situations, the characters, their motivations. There are no Easter Eggs and crazy twists and turns happening all of a sudden and almost every sequence in the movie is properly set up and planned and presented properly.
Both Hugh Jackman, as the distressed father who will go to any length to find his daughter, and Jake Gylenhall, a cop who will pretty much do anything to solve the case on hand portray their characters wonderfully well. Jackman in this role shows a level of quiet intensity which unlike his Wolverine characters, he does not brashly display by slashing up all and sundry around him. In this movie his intensity is quiet and menacing at its worst and some of the things he does to get his daughters back is far from being condonable.
Gylenhall for his part threatens to walk away with the acting honors in the role of the OCD affected cop. The way he keeps twitching his eyes whenever he blinks is something that I thought added a brilliant touch to the character. His performance makes you want him to be the investigating officer for any crime committed against you or your family. The tenacity with which he investigates leads, the commitment to unraveling the mystery, all of these are displayed by him wonderfully well in this movie.
This movie in my opinion could well turn out to be the sleeper hit of the year, at least in the thriller movie genre. Watch it, if you enjoy a nail biting thriller which keeps you guessing till the very end. But be warned, watching it requires bucket loads of patience as the plots develops slowly and at its own pace, which explains the running time of 2.5 hrs.