Movie Review: PRISONERS - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Terry's Take

Movie Review: PRISONERS

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Hugh Jackman and Jake Gwyllenhall star in PRISONERS, a dark, compelling, very well acted thriller about the abduction of two little girls.
 
The movie is exciting, suspenseful, even harrowing; and it keeps surprising you right up to the end.

It begins innocently enough with a white family and a black family celebrating Thanksgiving together.
     
But within minutes there is huge trouble as the parents discover that daughters from both families are nowhere to be found.

The obvious suspect is Paul Dano as Alex, an emotionally and mentally handicapped young man who was parked in an old RV near the house. Within hours Jake Gyllenhall as detective Loki has captured Alex, but there is no sign of the girls.

Since there is not enough evidence to charge Alex with a crime, he is released after 48 hours. And that's totally unacceptable to Hugh Jackman as Keller, the father of one of the girls. When Alex is leaving the police station with his mother (played by Melissa Leo), Keller grabs him and pushes him down onto the hood of a car, demanding to know what he's done with the girls. Alex is terrified, but mumbles, "They didn't cry until I left them." Then Keller is pulled away by cops.

Soon after though Keller manages to kidnap Alex and hold him prisoner in an abandon building. He even tortures Alex much to the dismay of Terrence Howard as Franklin, the father of the other missing girl. But Keller insists that if he does nothing, their daughters will die.

Meanwhile, Loki discovers another possible suspect even as Keller's desperate behavior has turned him into a monster. Can there be any justification for Keller's actions? What would we do in his place?

PRISONERS delivers excitement and dread in equal measure. The movie is a little too long, but the moral dilemma it presents plus a terrific plot, great cinematography and Oscar caliber acting make PRISONERS one of the best movies of the year so far.

Terry Hunter Hawaii News Now            thunter@hawaiinewsnow.com