Thursday, September 19, 2013

Prisoners Review - 2½ Stars

“Prisoners” begins as a crime solvers drama and turns into something much darker.  I suspect the filmmakers aspired to create the next “Silence of the Lambs.”   The director – Denis Villeneuve – comes close but leaves a few too many holes in his script and lets his story run too long – two hours and a half of this kind of tension is too much for most moviegoers.  As the story begins Hugh Jackman and his wife Maria Bello take their two children to the home of Terrence Howard and Viola Davis.  The couples get along and their children are about the same age.  The youngest ask to go outside and play and vanish.  One of the older children notices a creepy looking RV.  Detective Jake Gyllenhaal finds the vehicle driven by a child like Paul Dano.  But he can’t get enough evidence to hold him.  Dano’s release snaps Jackman emotionally and he takes matters into his own hands.  The plot thickens well beyond the usual vigilante justice story.  Melissa Leo adds to the creepiness and surprise.  The ending feels a lot like “Silence of the Lambs” and that includes capturing the excitement of that classic’s finale.  “Prisoners” suffers from too many familiar looking scenes of characters by themselves creeping around empty and possibly dangerous spaces.  Some of those scenes made the audience I watched with laugh.  And “Prisoners” suffers from excessive length.  But a great cast and a head spinning twist toward the end make Prisoners worth watching and even forgiving a few of these missteps.  Does it deliver what it promises?  Creepy thriller.  Is it entertaining?  Horrifying.  Is it worth the price of admission? For those who need a jolt.