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Prisoners

Ahh, back to my usual routine. Headed straight down the street immediately after work on Fri to catch Prisoners at the Somerville. I'd been thinking this summer that as many times as I'd been to this theater, I'd never caught a movie in the big auditorium. This is now the fifth one in a row there (starting with The To Do List). The 153 minute run time for this one almost persuaded me to save it for today (I've been fighting off a cold, drinking plenty of Gollum juice and wasn't sure if I'd stay awake thru it all), but I kinda liked the idea of having all day today to myself without trying to schedule a movie around it.

The cast of Prisoners alone is enough reason to go see it: Hugh Jackman, Terrance Howard, Jake Gyllenhaal, Maria Bello, Viola Davis, Paul Dano, and an unrecognizable Melissa Leo (I didn't know it was her til I got home and saw her name in an article). Yeah four of those names are usually proceeded with "Academy Award Nominee" and another with "Academy Award Winner". And they're doing a mystery thriller type film? Sign me up for that!

Jackman/Bello and Howard/Davis' daughters go missing one day and Gyllenhaal is the detective assigned to the case. Dano is the first suspect, but gets released since the cops don't believe he's capable of committing the crime. Jackman takes matters into his own hands, kidnaps Dano and tortures him to get information. This is pretty much all given to us in the trailer and is about the first 20-30 minutes of the film. But um, didn't we say this was 2.5 hours?

Right, so the next hour, is a really slow burn piecing things together. You don't know where things are headed, and it's kind of frustratingly slow. It starts to pick up a bit for the next half hour, and by the last one, the pace is so intense you just want it to keep going. While it was ultimately satisfying, I think that middle hour could have been tightened up a lot more. However, it does get points for me not being able to figure it out right away.

Between all the big names, my first reaction is to say that Jackman is the winner of this film. I'm so used to thinking of him as a big nice guy, that seeing him as an outraged father felt like a total 180. True, Wolverine isn't exactly even-tempered, but it comes from a completely different place. This was more Liam Neeson-esque. But actually, on second thought, Melissa Leo really is the strongest, as the aunt of the suspect. So calculated and restrained, but the most haunting.

Prisoners - \m/ \m/ \m/ \n
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