Prisoners ***1/2

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“Prisoners” is a movie that I struggled with. Not because I was indifferent to the film but because it is a great movie jammed in to a running time that doesn’t quite feel right. The events of the film unfold in to some powerful drama but so much happens that the two and a half hours just didn’t feel like it was long enough.

The story follows a father whose daughter goes missing while at a family gathering. When a young man with the IQ of a toddler is questioned and suspected, the father gets personally involved by kidnapping the man and attempting to torture him for information. Hugh Jackman plays the father and Paul Dano is the suspect. Jake Gyllenhaal plays the detective who is on the case. He must deal with finding the little girls as well as keeping Jackman’s character under control.

The investigation itself parallels the story of the father who tortures the only suspect in the case. Both stories are riveting pretty much from start to finish. The director Denis Villeneuve and his editors do a nice job of switching back and forth without interrupting the flow of the story. Velleneuve in particular has a nice eye for atmosphere and locations. I get a hint of David Fincher in his work.

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