First of all, the movie Prisoners was done in 1983. It was called Without A Trace. And that movie will never be outdone. It was much faster paced, much better acted, and almost completely overlooked upon its release. But stands the test of time, with Kate Nelligan and Judd Hirch’s Oscar worthy performances.
This, Prisoners, is over 2 1/2 hours long, and something that would have lost nothing having a full hour chopped off.
Prisoners is the director’s first English language film. (His second, Enemies, a horrible movie, premiered at various film festivals earlier this year, also starring Jake Gyllenhaal. It arrives in theaters in 2014 but won’t amount to anything as it was snapped up by A24, an independent studio).
In Prisoners, Hugh Jackman is Kelly Dover. He is hell bent on finding his and his neighbors’ kidnapped daughters. His neighbors are played by Terrence Howard and Viola Davis, in throwaway roles.
The movie, in its 2 1/2 hours never explains why the two families are celebrating Thanksgiving together, rather than with their own respective families.
Jake Gyllenhaal is Detective Loki (you’d have thought the writers would have chosen a name other than that of the adversary of Thor) and has gang tattoos on his neck and fingers that go completely unexplained. He spends much of the movie following Hugh Jackman’s character around, thinking that he might get to the bottom of the kidnappings this way.
He’s sort of on the right track. But not quite.
Through 2 1/2 hours we are forced to watch as countless suspects are proven to be innocent and upon the big reveal, I thought to myself, hmmm, that’s why that person in Hollywood chose the role. It made little sense to be in the movie for a glorified cameo if the person was not the actual kidnapper.
The ending is a tease, as well. Without saying much, if the police had actually done some policing, they would have found a particular truck parked in the woods behind a certain house.
So much for tying up ends of, yes, you get my drift now, a 2 1/2 hour movie – Tim Nasson.