With the rising popularity of crime thrillers, it’s quite an achievement to pull off a sumptuous story that challenges as well as embraces the classic tropes of the genre. However, French Canadian director Denis Villeneuve, with his artistic mind, crafted a gratifying crime thriller in the form of ‘Prisoners’.
Released in 2013, ‘Prisoners’ stars Australian actor Hugh Jackman as Keller Dover, a carpenter who, when his daughter is abducted, takes matter into his own hands to search for the perpetrator of the crime, resulting in a dark tale of vengeance and retaliation. The film also stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Detective Loki, who his assigned on the case and Paul Dano as Alex Jones, a young man who is abducted by Dover when he comes under the suspicion of kidnapping the two girls.
Written by American screenwriter Aaron Guzikowski, ‘Prisoners’ is built on a strong foundation of a brilliant screenplay, which is aided by the unnerving score composed by Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson and the gloomy cinematography by veteran cinematographer Roger Deakins. What makes the film such a compelling thriller is the intertwining themes and allegories. From the complex religious imagery to the deep-rooted character arcs, ‘Prisoners’ is certainly one of the finest crime thrillers of all time.
Keller Dover, a struggling carpenter lives with his family, consisting of his wife Grace Dover two children Ralph Dover and Anna Dover in Brockton, 25 miles south of Boston. During the holiday season, their neighbours Franklin and Nancy Birch invite them over for dinner. The four children go to play in the neighbourhood and approach an RV that is parked outside a house nearby. After dinner, the Dovers and Birchs learn that Anna and Joy go missing.
Detective Loki is given the task to find the two children and leads the investigation and the search. The team locates the RV, which is found to be parked at a gas station. As policemen surround the vehicle, they find out that a young man is in the vehicle. As they try to conduct an inquiry, he all of a sudden starts off the vehicle and crashes into a nearby tree. The police then learn that the young man is Alex, who is taken for investigation. However, it turns out that Alex has the IQ of a 10-year-old, and thus appears dumbfounded when being questioned at the police station. The forensics searches his vehicle for evidence but fail in cropping up any confirmation relating to the missing girls. Loki desperately tries to coax a confirmation out of Jones but is unable, and so releases him under lack of evidence.