terror and tension)
At last! A good movie filled with thrills, twists, turns, terror and tension.
The two and a half-hour movie, which never drags, starts with the Dovers walking down the street to the Birches for Thanksgiving dinner.
Keller (Hugh Jackman) and Grace (Maria Bello) Dover have a teenage son and younger daughter. The Birches (Viola Davis and Terrence Howard) have a teenage daughter and younger daughter. After dinner, the young girls go outside to play...and disappear.
Panic sets in and the tension never lets up. There was this old, beat-up RV parked down the street, driven by Alex, a mentally challenged young man (Paul Dano). Keller is convinced that he is the kidnapper, losing his cool and harassing the man mercilessly.
Enter Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal), a loner of a man, intense to the point of facial tics, and constantly challenged by the rage and anger of Keller.
No evidence can be found to link Alex to the kidnapping, so Keller takes matters into his own hands, losing complete control. A warning: Some of the scenes are disturbing, as Keller tries to get Alex to confess.
The story raises a ton of moral issues as the investigation leads to other suspects, keeping you both on the edge of your seat and trying to figure out where this is going. Nothing is black and white, and the four parents react to the desperate situation differently. There are the usual suspects (known child molesters) and unusual suspects (a priest).
It all comes together in dramatic fashion, cleverly revealing the truth, which should come as a surprise. The final scene, before the screen goes black, is stunning and clever. It involves Gyllenhaal and a simple gesture and will leave you speechless.
The acting is Oscar-level, although at times Jackman got on our nerves with his out-of-control rage. Gyllenhaal has his best role ever and should be an Oscar candidate. Rhode Island’s Viola Davis has one scene that will bring tears to your eyes.
After a dearth of bad movies, “Prisoners” is a welcome start for the fall season. If you are a bit queasy, there may be some themes, and a general theme, that will disturb you.
Rated R, with violence and profanity.
Until recently, if you wanted to see a foreign or independent movie, you had to go to one of three art houses in the state: Newport’s Jane Pickens or the East Side’s Avon or Cable Car. One costs you a bridge toll, while the other two require searching for a parking place.
Personally, I prefer the Avon. The audience is more sophisticated (and older), and there are so many cool places to eat after the movie.
There now is another alternative: Warwick Showcase. They not only show films also showing at the aforementioned cinemas, they also show films that don’t make it there. And why not? They have all those screens available and not always enough product.
I recently watched a funny, poignant Spanish speaking “Instructions Not Included,” with English sub-titles, that was not on any other screen. It was a delightful movie with one of the best plot twists I’ve seen.
Currently, the acclaimed “Thanks For Sharing” is playing in Warwick, along with “Austenland,” two art-house movies that were popular at film festivals and in major cities.
Go online to Warwick Showcase and you’ll find the times the movies are playing.