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Movie Review: Prisoners

by Dan Gunderson

Once a week, I review a movie that I had previously not viewed. It could be a new one or an old one. It does not matter. What does matter is that you read and enjoy this simple blog post from a movie geek.

I have one problem when it comes to watching movies. My girlfriend never wants to watch the same ones. I will make a suggestion and it usually is met with some sort of resistance. That is why when she saw the preview for the movie Prisoners, I was surprised to hear, “I WANT TO SEE THAT!” It was empathic enough that I needed to use all caps.


The movie, which hit theaters on September 20, 2013, is directed by Denis Villeneuve. Villeneuve hasn’t directed anything you have seen or want to see outside of this movie. He directed a movie that was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. Again, you didn’t watch and neither did I so this is pretty much his debut film.

The movie is about two girls who go missing, presumably abducted from their own neighborhood after their parents allow them to go outside during a Thanksgiving get together. The girls, both the same age it would appear, are from two different families.

The main actors in this movie are Jake Gyllenhaal, Hugh Jackman and Terrence Howard. Jackman and Howard play the fathers of the missing daughters while Gyllenhaal plays the lead detective in the case of these two missing girls.

If the preview and the premise of this movie don’t get you feeling like this will be a thriller, I think you are lost to us and need to take up hobbies like croquet or knitting. Both of those factors alone got me psyched for this flick and it didn’t disappoint.

The movie itself has several twists and turns you don’t see coming and everything that happens in this movie is connected to the end result. Everything. The emotional toll the scenario takes on Gyllenhaal and Jackman and the characters they play is easy to see but hard to watch.

Jackman, who plays Keller Dover, does some things that he believes are necessary when it comes to finding his daughter. The actions are questionable at best but it makes you ask the question would you do the same for your family?

For Gyllenhaal, who plays detective Loki, you see this hot shot, loner detective get emotionally caught up in the case. He tries very hard to separate himself from the emotions that are being displayed by Dover but becomes more involved in the case from a personal standpoint as the movie goes along.

So far, it is the best movie I have seen this fall and I would even say the movie would hold its own if it came out during the summer or winter. It has solid acting, great storyline and an ending that you didn’t see coming. You need to go see this movie.