Saturday, January 25, 2014

How far would you go to protect your children?

"Pray for the best, but prepare for the worst."

The love which we get from our parents is the first that we ever experience. It's pure and unconditional, with some saying that they can do anything for their children. But what does that anything cover? How far would one go to protect his/her children? The wonderful director Denis Villeneuve takes on this topic.

"I am not going to have Christmas without my daughter."
Prisoners talks about Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman), an independent contractor, who lives in a quiet part of Pennsylvania with his wife Grace (Maria Bello) and two children. Jackman is shown as a god fearing man who loves his family. His life turns into every parent's nightmare after his six year old daughter Anna gets kidnapped while they were celebrating Thanksgiving with their neighbors, Franklin (Terrence Howard) and Nancy Birch (Viola Davis). The Birch family are not spared of this nightmare as their daughter Zoe gets kidnapped too and thus begins the tale of sadness and desperation of parents who have no clue where their daughters have disappeared. The agony and the helplessness of a father whose daughter is kidnapped is portrayed brilliantly by the intense Jackman. When a top detective by the name of Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) takes this case in his hands he is unable to provide Dover with any positive developments. There is a suspect who was found lurking around in his van at the possible kidnap scene but there isn't enough proof to make him confess. The fact that this suspect, Alex Jones (Paul Dano) possesses an IQ of a ten year old doesn't help Loki nail him and get information about the girls' whereabouts. Dover, a father who is emotional and powerless as the police struggle to find his daughter, decides to take matters into his own hands. Along with a reluctant Franklin, he makes it his sole intention to make Dano talk, one way or the other.

"And every day, she's wondering why I'm not there to f **king rescue her!
Do you understand that? Me, not you! Not you! But me! EVERY DAY!"
The movie shows the extent to which grief can lead a parent to bring back a child. There are moments when I was stuck between supporting Dover and his actions to find his missing daughter and hoping that he stops what he is doing to achieve just that. Jackman has proved his mettle as a gifted actor and his role here certainly adds to his credentials. A warm and loving family man turns into a helpless but enraged father, going through the most horrible ordeal one can imagine and then is forced into the role a ruthless maniac who is willing to cross all limits in order to find his child. He is well supported by Gyllenhaal, who exhibits similar intensity and at the same time manages to come across as slightly loosened. The drama is fittingly crafted for an unexpected twist in the end. There are a couple of loopholes along the way but if I were to question each one of them and add my two cents of logic to it then I might as well erase all the good things that I have written about this movie. I looked at it as a struggle which a family has to go through during a difficult situation and it showed me how exactly that struggle could change the lives of the people affected.


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