Release date in Malaysia: September 20th 2013
Distributor / studio: Nusantara (NEF) / Alcon Ent.
Genre: Thriller, mystery, suspense
Running Time: 152 minutes
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Writer: Aaron Guzikowski
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Hugh Jackman, Terrence Howard and Melissa Leo
Synopsis: Revolves around a small-town carpenter named Keller (Hugh Jackman) whose young daughter and her best friend are kidnapped. After the cops fail to find them, Keller takes the law into his own hands, but in the process runs up against Detective Loki, a hot shot cop with confidence to burn, assigned to the case.
Verdict: This is definitely one of its genre’s greatest within the decade, along with the likes of Zodiac (2007) and Memories of Murder (2003). Although the story of Prisoners relies on a few coincidences, the script is very well written and masterfully orchestrated by the mystery specialist Villeneuve. Along with the strong performance by cast (an overkill one by Hugh Jackman) and horror-like gripping cinematography, this highly enjoyable flick may be looking at an Oscar nomination or two. Movie-goers who prefer the usual fast-paced, no-brainer Hollywood stuffs may not appreciate the seemingly slower pacing of the film, which is totally required to develop the characters, engage emotionally, build up the suspense and keep the audience guessing. Although I understand that the film has its purpose, it may have been tastier if the ending’s 30 seconds shorter ’cause that would leave a deeper, darker mark (watch it & you’d get what I mean).
Girlfriend’s opinion: “It’s good but is it just me or is it too slow paced?”
Malaysian censorship: Nothing for notably censored. All F-bombs intact with a considerably graphic scene. The Malay & Chinese subtitles are poor translations though, almost hilarious. “You’re getting heavier.” => “Kau semakin gemuk.” “I found these and some other shit.” => literally translated to Chinese.
Rating: 4 / 5
[SPOILER SECTION BEGINS HERE]——————————————————————————————–
Religious symbolism of the film: I’m an atheist but I’m all for movies that are brilliant enough to leave barely noticeable signs of religion either to promote a religion or just to provoke thoughts. In this case for me, Prisoners got me thinking about it. You see? Very smart. So in the film, it is revealed that the couple, who kidnap children, do it to get families to lose faith in their religion. This is to “start a war against god” ’cause they blame god for not preventing their son from dying of cancer. Throughout the movie, Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) has never lost faith and prays at the beginning right before his son shoots the deer, whenever he’s about to torture the suspect that might have kidnapped his daughter and even when it seems that both he and his daughter may die together in the hole. He just holds on to his faith, prays and in the end they all survived, saved by the detective by the name of Loki (name of a god in Norse mythology). That’s all I managed to decipher on my own at the moment. Pretty sure some geek would come up with a more detailed writeup about this in days to come.
Two convincing messages: One, bad things could happen when you least expected it so you can never be too careful (particularly in Malaysia these days, please don’t let your children go out alone!). Two, parents would do anything for their children so don’t fuck with little kids, people!
Standout scene: The part where Keller Dover notices that he’s being followed by Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) and goes confronting him. In the car, Dover has to hide his secret of imprisoning suspect Alex Jones (Paul Dano) without being suspicious while being angry (that Loki still hasn’t found his missing daughter), sad and miserable at the same time. “It’s day six and everyday she’s wondering why I’m not there to rescue her. Me! Not you!” *Slams the car’s dashboard hard twice* What an intense performance by Mr. Wolverine!