Film review: Prisoners

The final minutes of Canadian director Denis Villeneuve’s somber new film Prisoners are as dark and thrilling as anything that precedes them, but their impact could have been infinitely more powerful had Hugh Jackman’s character not been so incredibly thick.

Jackman plays Keller Dover, a manly family man with a remodeling and repairs business who in the film’s opening scene accompanies his son, Ralph, on his first deer hunt, and does his best to make the youthful teenage boy feel he is now in some way being initiated into manhood. Keller tells Ralph how his father used to always be prepared for everything, good or bad. In other words, a real Boy Scout. Of course, he will soon face a situation he has no idea how to handle.

But there is something off about Keller. He is intensely serious about everything, his body literally taught with tension, and in a pivotal scene early in the film, when he is searching the house and we get the first glimpse of his basement, the camera lingers just long enough for us to notice a gas mask hanging in the corner.

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