Donate Now to Support KDHX

Listen Live
Friday, 20 September 2013 00:00

'Prisoners' captures its audience from beginning to end

'Prisoners' captures its audience from beginning to end prisonersmovie.warnerbros.com/
Written by Diane Carson
Rate this item
(1 Vote)

About this Media...

  • Director: Denis Villeneuve
  • Dates: Opened September 20, 2013

"Prisoners" is a challenging film with so many twists and turns that director Denis Villeneuve told the audience at the Telluride Film Festival, where "Prisoners" premiered, that no one should leave for the film's two and a half hours or they'd risk missing crucial details. He wasn't kidding, and no, I won't give anything away here.

The setup is quick and upsetting. It's Thanksgiving as two families--the Dovers and the Birches who live down the street from each other--get together to celebrate. Their six-year-old daughters, playmates and friends, head back to the Keller Dover house but don't return. A suspicious RV was parked on the street, but that's just the beginning of the nightmare that unfolds in this Pennsylvania suburb.

Husbands Deller and Franklin become desperate; wives Nancy and Grace are devastated; and Detective Loki pursues every lead, finding that it's not only the kidnapper who harbors horrifying, if understandable, reactions. The plot confronts our darkest impulses.

Villeneuve, the director of the gut-wrenching "Polytechnique" (2009) and the Oscar-nominated "Incendies" (2010), is among the most theoretically interesting filmmakers. He integrates and studies the submerged violence in all his characters. He traces the ripple effects of cruelty and sadism. But he refuses to provide expected, conventional catharsis. Almost everything good that happens occurs off-screen, which leads me to conclude that Villeneuve hates violence so completely that he resists providing any release from its ugliness and its toxic infection of all those it touches. As he said at a Telluride Q&A, he wants to show "the way violence spreads in families and characters."

Fearless acting by Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Terrence Howard, Melissa Leo, Viola Davis, and Paul Dano makes the impact powerful. In addition, the cold, stormy, depressive weather contributes another layer of tension, as does the minimal camera movement and subdued lighting crafted by cinematographer Roger Deakins. "Prisoners" is not only a first-rate thriller; it also holds the mirror up to our fascination with but the horror of violence, an enthrallment that Villeneuve interrogates in profound ways. At various cinemas. Check your local listings.

Sponsor Message

Become a Sponsor

Find KDHX Online

KDHX on Instagram
KDHX on YouTube
KDHX on SoundCloud
KDHX on Facebook
KDHX on Twitter
KDHX on flickr

KDHX Recommends

July
Friday
10

A Muscle Shoals Music Revue with Amy Black and Sarah Borges

Join powerhouse singers Amy Black and Sarah Borges for a soulful celebration of the incredible music that came out of Muscle Shoals, Alabama in the 1960s and 70s. Together, with a full band, they will perform classic songs originally...


July
Saturday
11

Brunch at the Stage: Jonathan Ramsey

KDHX is now curating a Saturday brunch series at the Stage with live music from local musicians and delicious, locally-sourced food and drinks from the Magnolia Café. Brunch at the Stage takes place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m....


July
Tuesday
14

KDHX Get Down to Business Series: How to Land, and Nail, an Interview

KDHX and Arcade Apartments present the Get Down to Business series at the Stage. Get Down to Business is a series of professional development presentations geared towards the St. Louis arts community. On Tuesday, July 14th, at 7...


Get Answers!

If you have questions or need to contact KDHX, visit our answers portal at answers.kdhx.org.

Online Users

3 users and 10796 guests online
Sign in with Facebook

SYSTEM: S5 Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook