The movie is written and directed by David Ayer and the noteworthy cast includes Arnold Schwarzenegger, Terrence Howard, Sam Worthington, Mireille Enos, Olivia Williams, Joe Manganiello, Max Martini, Josh Holloway, Harold Perrineau, Daniel Moncada, Martin Donovan, and Ralf Moeller.
Great cast, great director, and it looks like it will be a great action flick.
The film is set to release on 04/11/14.
Before seeing Prisoners, I guaranteed to people that it would be good. Sometimes it is as if I just know. I did not have any doubts about this movie at all. I am not narcissistic. I just sort of have a sixth sense. I am like Haley Joel Osment’s character in The Sixth Sense (1999). However, instead of seeing dead people, I see good movies.
Can’t you just hear me whispering softly? “I see good movies.”
Bruce Willis responds, “In your dreams?”
I shake my head no.
“While you’re awake?”
“Good movies like, in graves? In coffins?”
“Walking around like regular movies. They don’t see each other. They only see what they want to see. They don’t know they’re good.”
Bruce Willis asks, “How often do you see them?”
I whisper, “All the time. They’re everywhere.”
Prisoners is about two little girls who go missing. Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) is the father of one of the girls. He will stop at nothing to find out who took his daughter and will do whatever is necessary to get her back.
The movie was directed by Denis Villeneuve and the rest of the noteworthy cast includes Jake Gyllenhaal, Terrance Howard, Maria Bello, Melissa Leo, Viola Davis, Paul Dano, Wayne Duvall, Len Cariou, David Dastmalchian, and Dylan Minnette.
Prisoners was gripping. It did not take long to pull me in to the disturbingly chilling story. It’s the next day and I’m still thinking about the film.
It should go without saying that it’s not exactly a feel good movie. Two little girls disappear. There is nothing good about that. Because of the subject matter, some aspects of the film are hard to like. However, the film was so well-made that it doesn’t pull any punches, and rightfully so. You have to see the bad in order to appreciate the good.
The movie is brutally violent and gory. There is plenty of language and blood. It captures the eeriness of the twisted plot perfectly.
Jackman plays a broken man who does not hesitate to do whatever is necessary to get his daughter back. His performance was excellent. It might be his best and more realistic role yet. It is Hugh Jackman unplugged like you haven’t seen him before.
Gyllenhaal plays the detective on the case. He is obsessed with his job and has solved every case that he has been assigned to. He is not about to fail now. This movie is equally Gyllenhaal’s movie as much as it is Jackman’s.
The rest of the supporting cast all play their parts well and Leo stands out among them.
The film is just over two and a half hours long, but I was so in to it that I did not notice. Time flies when you’re have fun, or watching a good movie. Prisoners never gets boring. It absorbs you and keeps you guessing until the end.
Jackman, Gyllenhaal, and Leo all gave Oscar worthy performances and the film itself is the best movie that I have seen so far this year.
I rate this movie a 9 on a scale on 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Buy.
If you liked Prisoners, then you will probably enjoy:
Mystic River (2003)
Lee Daniels’ The Butler (2013)
The movie should have just been called The Butler, but director Lee Daniels somehow felt that he had to put his name in the title. I’m not sure if there is a real reason for his name being in the title, but to me, it just seems a little narcissistic.
Lee Daniels’ The Butler is very, very lightly based on the life of Eugene Allen. The film changed Allen’s name to Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker). The film paints a pretty disturbing picture of the struggles and pain that Gaines and his family faced during his childhood and throughout his life as a butler at the White House for 34 years. The movie showed how the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement had a major impact on his life.
The rest of the noteworthy cast includes Cuba Gooding Jr., David Oyelowo, Oprah Winfrey, Terrence Howard, John Cusack, James Marsden, Robin Williams, Liev Schreiber, Alan Rickman, Jane Fonda, Vanessa Redgrave, Lenny Kravitz, Mariah Carey, Clarence Williams III, John P. Fertitta, Colman Domingo, Yaya Alafia, Minka Kelly, and Nelsan Ellis.
The movie modifies many of the facts about Allen’s life in order to make it more entertaining and therefore less true.
I left the film wondering just how much of it was true. After doing a little bit of research, I found out a number of things about the movie that are completely fiction. It’s a little upsetting to me how this film tries to pass itself off as based on a true story. I don’t want to spoil anything about the movie for anybody, but let me just say that a lot of it is pure fiction.
I really felt for the main characters after seeing what they went through, and thinking how terrible things were for them. After finding out that a lot of the details in the movie are made up, I question just how honest the rest of the movie is. I feel like I was a little duped. I felt bad for Cecil Gaines, but that was not even his real name. I felt bad for some of the things that Gaines went through, but found out that some of those things didn’t even happen. Because the writers and director played so fast and loose with the facts and tried to pass it all off as truth, they succeeded in ruining the movie for me.
The film was very slow and dragged on at times.
There were so many big names in this movie that a few of them were underused. A lot of the supporting characters do not get fully developed. They are in the film in almost cameo-like roles, and then they are gone.
Forest Whitaker is superb in the lead role. His performance alone is enough to make the film worth watching. Even at the film’s slowest and almost boring parts when the movie seems like it is unraveling, Whitaker is enough to bring everything back together again.
Oprah Winfrey was miscast. Her character hardly seemed believable and this took away from my enjoyment of the film. The rest of the supporting cast all did a fine job.
Overall, I felt like the movie was too slow at times. If they had trimmed some of the fat and gotten rid of a few scenes, the film could have been better. I am a little annoyed at how many facts were changed as they are trying to pass this movie off as inspired by a true story. Most people read “true story” and think that it is true. If they dressed this movie up to make it more entertaining, I cannot imagine how slow it would have been if they had stuck more to the facts.
Setting all of the things about this film that I did not like aside, Whitaker and most of the rest of the cast all do a great job. It’s fun to see all of these big names in the same movie even if some of them are not in it long enough. The film does an excellent job of showing people overcome hatred and violence and that is always a good shot to the arm for the human spirit.
I rate this movie a 6.5 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Rent.
Prisoners (2013) (Click on the title for my full review.)
Two little girls go missing. The father (Hugh Jackman) of one of the girls finds and captures the man that he thinks took them. He will stop at nothing to get his little girl back.
The film is written by Denis Villeneuve and directed by Aaron Guzikowski.
Kidnapping is not a new idea for a movie, but this one looks pretty intense. The cast is top-notch and the movie looks like it has potential.
I think that I’ll have to check this one out when it hits theatres.
The film is set to release on 9/20/13.
The Company you Keep (2012)
The Company you keep is based off of the novel with the same name written by Neil Gordon.
I was excited to see this movie because I often enjoy movies about investigative journalism, not to mention the cast is fully loaded with talent. Redford directs and stars alongside LaBeouf, Julie Christie, Susan Surandon, Stanley Tucci, Terrence Howard, Nick Nolte, Chris Cooper, Richard Jenkins, Brendan Gleeson, Sam Elliot, Stephen Root, Anna Kendrick, Brit Marling, and Jackie Evancho. Redford may be getting old, but he still has the star power to bring together a big A-list group of actors to make a movie.
The Weather Underground is an anti-war activist group that was around during the Vietnam War era. I had heard about this group before, but I went into the film knowing absolutely nothing about them. The movie explains what the group was all about, but given the fact that the story is based off of a novel, they sort of mix fact with fiction.
Like most films about investigative journalism, the story moves along at a slow to steady pace as the reporter tries to figure things out about the story that he is trying to tell. There is plenty of time for character development and the dialogue is well-written. Great actors tend to pop up out of the woodwork like weeds when these types of movies are made and The Company you Keep is no exception.
It was refreshing to see Robert Redford acting again. He hasn’t been in a movie since Lions for Lambs (2007). Although he has always been a tremendous actor, he really has aged. They tried to make him seem younger in the film by dying his hair and having him jogging in one scene. But, when all is said and done, the movie icon was too old for the part he was playing. This fact took a little bit away from the film.
The person that really stood out the most was Shia LaBeouf. He has strong screen presence, and when he is not doing a Transformers movie, his charisma can really take over a movie. The rest of the cast played their parts well but, LaBeouf was the glue that held the film together.
The Company you Keep was quality filmmaking with a few flaws. The flaws weren’t very noticeable until a little over halfway through the film. Redford did his best with the story that he had, but ultimately the movie was anticlimactic and it became predictable. The dialogue was great, the acting was superb, but there were few surprises along the way to make the movie stand out.
The film was worth seeing, if only to watch masters of the acting craft at work.
I rate this movie a 7 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Rent.
If you liked The Company You Keep, then you will probably enjoy the following films:
Dead Man Down (2013)
Dead Man Down is a tale about grief, pain, and especially revenge. The film is a bit of a puzzle. I especially enjoy movies that make you think and figure things out for yourself instead of spelling it all out for you. This story pieces itself together little by little as events unfold and eventually everything becomes clear. By doing this, the movie keeps your attention because you are focused on what will happen next.
Although the movie was filmed in New York, it has a foreign independent movie feel to it. This is not only because there are a number of foreign actors and actresses in the film, but because the whole movie has an almost exotic feel to it. Instead of focusing on landmarks to tell the viewers where the story is taking place, this movie almost does the opposite. You can tell that it takes place in a big city, but the filmmakers decided to film in less obvious parts of the city. Instead of getting big helicopter views, they give you a view from a rooftop or a balcony. It seems like the story is intentionally confined to a smaller area. Maybe this makes it easier for people all around the world to believe that what is happening in the film could actually be happening in their home town. It is just an interesting aspect of filmmaking that I have never thought of before.
I like Colin Farrell but I am always a little leery of his movies because they are usually hit or miss. Lately he has been choosing his characters a little more wisely (Seven Psychopaths (2012), Total Recall (2012), Horrible Bosses (2011)) and this movie was no exception. His character is a no-nonsense tough guy and he plays the part well.
Terrence Howard brings a lot of energy and charisma to the film. He has a very Denzel Washington-like way of taking over the scenes that he is in and making his presence known. I think that this is his best role since The Brave One (2007).
After watching her delicate performance in the movie, Noomi Rapace has convinced me that I should check out her Dragon Tattoo Trilogy (2010) that she is most known for. Her character in Dead Man Down seemed very genuine.
Armand Assante has basically a cameo appearance. I was a little bummed that he wasn’t in more of the movie.
The movie was a little drawn out at times. Some of the action sequences seemed a little convenient. The story might be a little hard to follow if you’re not paying attention. But, overall it was an entertaining and unique film.
I rate this movie a 7.5 out of 10.
Buy, rent, or run? Rent.