Prisoners – Not 24601

Evil things happen in this world. We know this but we do our best to have hope, to focus on the blessings we have because if the reality of the amount of evil happening was in the front of our consciousness, we would not be able to function. Violence against children is a subject portrayed in film over and over again, typically in action movies, where an angry grieving father grows a huge pair of saline balls (DON’T GOOGLE IMAGE IT….okay, do it), buys a gun from Walmart and hunts for justice.

While the father, of a kidnapped little girl, Keller Dover (played by Hugh Jackman) makes a very tough dad, Denis Villneuve’s Prisoners  shows the emotional costs of looking for payback. Dover is frustrated by the rules and policies the police have on questioning the kidnapper suspects like Paul Dano’s soft spoken 10 year old IQ Alex Jones. Cruelty begets cruelty.

But before we get to the nitty gritty….can we talk about the perpetuation of the stereotype that folks with big 70’s prescription glasses are creepers? Director Villneuve CLEARLY has a big case of 20/20 privilege.

Melissa Leo and Paul Dano for Lenscrafters.

The overall message of this film is quite bleak. The police captain states a tattooed and frustrated Jake Gyllenhaal “We’re just cops. Janitors.” Justice is clean-up. Not guaranteed

This movie should have been at least 30 minutes shorter. It is laden with tense moments that are unnecessary to the story such as a long blurry car ride to the emergency room and the arduous inspection of a RV with nothing plot-changing inside. It was frustrating to sit and wait for all the “make em sit at the edge of their seat” bull shit to find out what the hell was going on. BUT….through all that….I think this film is definitely worth seeing. Hugh Jackman’s depth of emotion and how he handles the contradictions between his desire for justice and the way he goes about getting it is going to stay on my mind for awhile.

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