Thursday, January 23, 2014

2013 #9: PRISONERS

Morally probing, moodily stylish, and intensely acted by all, Canadian director Denis Villeneuve’s harrowing, violent kidnapping thriller Prisoners is one of the finest American crime movies in years, easily on par with modern classics such as Mystic River and Seven. Hugh Jackman goes deep with an emotionally complex, career-topping performance (in any other year he gets a Best Actor nom for this gut-wrenching piece of work) and Jake Gyllenhaal yet again demonstrates how perfect he can be when given the right material. Aaron Guzikowski’s twisty, twisted, and ultimately brilliant screenplay never sacrifices coherence or succumbs to cheap exploitation while piling on the plot threads, while Villeneuve obsesses over all of the small directorial touches in an almost Fincher-esque manner. The incomparable cinematographer Roger Deakins clearly had a ball playing within the parameters of the mystery noir genre, cloaking the film in rain, shadows, darkness, and harsh streaks of light. A breakneck final 20 minutes leads into a lump-in-your-throat finale; this is an absolutely top-shelf mystery that only comes around every so often.

No comments: