Donnerstag, 26. September 2013


French-Canadian director Denis Villeneuve's "Prisoners" is an almost in every way commendable dramatic thriller: plot-driven, performance-heavy, solid old-fashioned storytelling of which there should only be more. But...but... it's just so maddeningly, distractingly imperfect on so many levels! The script is plagued by plausibility issues as people keep looking the wrong places and asking the bad questions. Jake Gyllenhaal's detective character is especially messily written, sabotaging the emotional involvement of the audience and the necessary balance in a narrative about choices. In retrospect the film is also faultily structured. Clocking in at 158 min, way too much time is spent on red herrings and blunt morality tests. There are weak links in the overall impressive cast (hello, Terrence Howard), but Hugh Jackman brings great volatility and vulnerability to the central figure and Viola Davis, in her sadly limited role, is divine.

This movie is not nearly as strong as Villeneuve's last feature "Incendies" (my Top 10 of 2011), but when it works, it's quite the adrenaline ride. The last hour, with its goosebumps-worthy big reveal, is intense as hell.

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