Kowalczyk 1 Samantha Kowalczyk Mr. Newman English 101: Rhetoric 10 October 2013 The Best Revenge Thriller Yet In earlier years, many movies portrayed the bright side and positive aspects of a story with a happily ever after and predicable ending. Where as in today’s films storylines are scripted darker and more gruesome than one’s imagination could even process. The film Prisoners directed by Denis Villeneuve falls under the category described as a revenge thriller with no limitations or boundaries in regards to how brutal or gruesome a movie should be. The film stars Hugh Jackman as Keller Dover, Anna’s father, and Jake Gyllenhaal as Detective Loki who both take on the role in the finding of the two abducted daughters Anna (Erin Gersasimovich) and Joy (Kyla Drew Simmons) by the accused abductor Alex played by Paul Dano. Jocelyn Noveck and Owen Gleiberman both reviewed the thriller and portrayed more similar feelings and views toward the movie. While only Gleiberman draws parallels between the characters Keller Dover and Alex, Gleiberman and Novek find common grounds on how the film keeps the audience intrigued and the success of Jackman’s role in the film. In Gleiberman’s review of Prisoners, he shows a system of similarities between Keller and Alex. This includes Keller being in the position of having a strong reasoning behind Alex being the abductor of his daughter, which results in him becoming the abductor himself, holding Alex hostage, and brutally beating him until he confesses the truth. Gleiberman states, “… we behold Keller’s actions and feel that they may be horribly unjustified – a daring place for a film to put
Kowalczyk 2 its hero – and we also behold his actions and feel that they may be what true morality demands.” This expresses that although Keller is seen as the hero who is trying to save his daughter, he is taking all accounts necessary to get his daughter back alive. Noveck also includes the scene of Keller harming and abusing Alex in her review, but seems to only add it to show Keller taking further action of what the detective couldn’t do. “That’s simply untenable for Dover, who takes matters in his own hands – and in a gruesome way, capturing and torturing Alex…” (Noveck). Noveck seems to add this as just another point along in the plot. Gleiberman’s review shows parallel between the complete opposite characters of the movie, Keller as the possible protagonist and Alex assumed as the antagonist. Besides the major difference in Noveck’s and Gleiberman’s reviews, they both share a similarity on the idea that Prisoners continuously keeps the audience intrigued throughout the movie. Gleiberman shares his insight on the fact that although the movie was longer than most, there was not much time where he did not have something to think about or take into consideration. “What ensues is two and a half hours of unrelenting tension, punctuated by clever twists in Aaron Guzikowski’s first rate script. Many movies this long don’t earn their length; here, there’s little flab” (Gleiberman). His interpretation describes the script as one to keep the viewers waiting for the next unexpected event to occur. Noveck shares a common point in believing that Prisoners is a very unpredictable movie keeps the viewers questioning what will happen next. She believes that “It’s a dazzling potent, ambitious, and complex movie, a film that forces you to ask questions that have no easy answers” (Noveck). Noveck is implying that not only does the movie keep us wanting more, but it makes us question our possible solutions behind each predicament in the film. Gleiberman and Noveck believe that Prisoners successfully keeps its audience interested for the two and a half hour time frame.
Kowalczyk 3 Both reviewers also agree that the role of Keller Dover played by Hugh Jackman was a major success. In Gleiberman’s review, he expresses his thought that Jackman gives “a staggering performance that’s unlike anything he has ever done before….” His acting performance and reactions in the midst of trying to decipher the case of his abducted and missing daughter were “with an unbridled rage” and “he invests every snarl and rasp of that anger with meaning” (Gleiberman). He comments on how Jackman rightfully played his father role by “committed action” with connecting the dots that the longer the case took the less likely he was to find his daughter alive. Noveck, in similar thoughts, believes this film shows Jackman’s acting capabilities to be his “best work to date…-- and surpasses last year’s Oscar-nominated performance in Les Miserables”. She incorporates Jackman being known as have an “evercharming persona” where as in the movie he is able to conform and play the role of an uneasy and heartbroken father of an abducted daughter. Gleiberman and Noveck share the common ground of believing Jackman has successfully completed his role as Keller Dover in the film Prisoners. Although no one can deny the film Prisoners long length, Noveck and Gleiberman support the idea that the film is worth sitting down to watch. The outstanding performance played by Hugh Jackman makes the movie worthwhile along with the intriguing twist and turns in the plot outline. Although I agree the movie definitely has a great plot and an exceptional casting crew, I feel it is too drawn out in certain areas. I would describe some moments bland and unnecessary, but overall was a successful movie. In the midst of the plot, viewers are able to realize connections among the characters as did Gleiberman between Alex and Dover. Prisoners is deemed a movie that will keep the audience wanting more with a twisted uneasy ending.
Works Cited Gleiberman, Owen. "Prisoners (2013)." Entertainment Weekly. N.p., 6 Oct. 2013. Web. 7 Oct. 2013. Noveck, Jocelyn. "Prisoners' Review: Suspsense Film Is a Gripping, Smart Revenge Saga." Huffington Post Entertainment. N.p., 18 Sept. 2013. Web. 10 Oct. 2013.