Author Topic: Prisoners  (Read 3891 times)

Bondo

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Prisoners
« on: September 20, 2013, 04:27:27 PM »
Prisoners Is Terrible: A Listicle

I just got back from watching Denis Villenueve's new film Prisoners, starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal, and I'm too annoyed for complete sentences except for this one. Spoilers ahead, because you shouldn't watch this.

1. This plays into the fear that children are likely to be randomly abducted by strangers. They aren't. But I guess it is dramatically rich or something.

2. Various suspects all tend toward the meek and socially awkward, probably mentally handicapped and/or autistic, because they seem a fun group to broadly pigeonhole as suspicious.

3. Detective Loki (Gyllenhaal) is the respected and measured seeming hero cop, but doesn't apparently bother with things like warrants or wearing gloves in the middle of a crime scene. Because getting the job done totally justifies doing away with civil liberties.

4. He also doesn't feel that when opening a box full of snakes, it is good to close the box again. Letting all the snakes loose seems more reasonable.

5. There is no real bother in putting a plausible motive behind the actions, because evil.

6. After a lot of torture on a clearly innocent individual, we have to suffer a plea about how he is a good guy just doing what was necessary to save his daughter and if it could be done over again, we shouldn't want to wish anything different. See #3 about getting the job done vis a vis civil liberties only increase it to basic human dignity.

So yeah, despite having a great cast, but Paul Dano, this film ends up as pretty inexcusable, and though I really liked Polytechnique, I fear Villenueve tends towards the cheap and often offensive to try to make his films feel profound or at least heavy.

1/5

Totoro

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Re: Prisoners
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2013, 06:24:04 PM »
This was so bad.

I agree with all your points, Bondo, but I have to add to it that this has to be one of, if not the, worst performance of Hugh Jackman's career. He's all one note, entirely one dimensional, throughout the course of the entire film. There is no subtlety, no grace, no inner thoughts, he is devoid of dimension, of humanity even!

Totoro

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Re: Prisoners
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2013, 06:58:33 PM »
I see this mostly as Right Wing fantasy fulfillment propaganda. All of the religious people do horrendous acts that betray their religion, but they get results, so CINECAST! it, right? The ends justify the means. And they stand in their actions with 100% righteousness, never to waver. The torture ultimately somewhat leads Dover to his daughter ("you were there" well why was he there?) so that is justified too. The police are too bumbling and too stupid to get the job done. Plays on fears is so right, but plays on Republican fears. Torturing innocents, warped religious views, distrust of government, ends justify the means... Bush era and Guantanamo Bay. My oh my.

Beavermoose

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Re: Prisoners
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2013, 08:20:26 PM »
Deakiiiiins!
I thought it was okay on the surface. Villeneuve said that the producers came to him and said that they wanted him to make a movie like Insomnia. I think there are moments when it resembles that movie but it is much less coherent. Every plot point was very textbook, complete with red herring and (not really) a twist. There were some nice tense moments though.

Bondo

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Re: Prisoners
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2013, 11:36:02 PM »
Well, it is weird in that the story acts like the torture helped rescue the girl but it isn't the guy being tortured who gives the tip that leads him to where his daughter is but the other girl happening to get free. It just turns out that having kidnapped the guy leads the cop to the location later on (to notify his mother). That is a pretty roundabout way of saying (as Maria Bello's character does explicitly) that it worked and thus was right.

Beavermoose

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Re: Prisoners
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2013, 08:33:58 AM »
Its #1 at the B.O.
I think people just want to see a movie where Paul Dano gets beat up.

FLYmeatwad

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Re: Prisoners
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2013, 10:20:03 AM »
Haha yes! I wanted to make a spoiler thread just to give people a place to shit on Paul Dano.

Any way, I figured I would hate this film (and again, as I wrote somewhere else, this movie is definitely super shallow and pretty basic, which falls right in line with Incendies), but I thought it was watchable enough because at least visually it looked pretty good and Jake is pretty fun to watch I mean with his hair slicked back he look like Rick Pitino.

This film felt a lot like Gone Baby Gone to me, which was also kind of watchable but ultimately unfulfilling. If I were to toy around with the idea of writing a review for this I would compare it to masturbation or hiring a prostitute for sex or something. For the song lyric title I would most definitely use "They all fall there so perfectly, it all seems so well timed" because the divergent perspectives allowed information to be given out in such a way that I always felt five steps ahead of each character so no twists really surprised me or anything, they were textbook like Beavermoose said.

I discovered that guy in the preacher's basement was the crazy lady's husband at first hint of it because everything kind of had to connect. But yeah, thematically it gets mucky and dicey as well, which is a bummer. So yeah, it's not good outside of what is happening with the camera, and even that doesn't really serve much. So it didn't piss me off or anything, but yeah it was definitely bad on an objective level.

EDIT: I guess I was easier on this film, despite recognizing its many shortcomings, because of what it represents. Along with the release of GTA earlier in the week and I guess that new Drake thing now (though music works differently than film and video games, TV does as well, but not on basic networks) it was kind of the film to kick off Oscar season and fall movie season or whatever. So even though that generally means me watching a number of films I will hate because they are similar to the type of film this is and are shallow and hollow, it's also kind of reinvigorating because it kind of means many of the other bigger films I am actually anticipating rather than just being obliged to watch or curiously interested in are starting to pop up in theaters. So yeah. I reckon Rush will probably see FLY back in top form though, unless it's good, who knows that is a possibility I guess, little faith after Frost/Nixon.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2013, 10:45:28 AM by FLYmeatwad »

ArmenianScientist

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Re: Prisoners
« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2013, 01:31:43 AM »
This was pretty much an abomination, although it did provoke the physical response from me that Villeneuve likely intended (nausea, perspiring). Bondo and Totoro, y'all are on point.

Totoro

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Re: Prisoners
« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2013, 05:30:27 AM »
Well, it is weird in that the story acts like the torture helped rescue the girl but it isn't the guy being tortured who gives the tip that leads him to where his daughter is but the other girl happening to get free. It just turns out that having kidnapped the guy leads the cop to the location later on (to notify his mother). That is a pretty roundabout way of saying (as Maria Bello's character does explicitly) that it worked and thus was right.

If he didn't torture the guy, he wouldn't have needed to go back to the "aunt" to retrieve information how to get him to talk. The only reason he didn't save his daughter is because he wasn't fast enough with the gun.

And the "demon" explanation by the evil old woman is so convenient. It also makes her somewhat of a master genius since or just super lucky for all of the events to fall in to pieces like they did.

With fronds like these...

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Re: Prisoners
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2013, 05:37:27 AM »
I've not seen this, but I've heard an interview (done by the excellent Francine Scott of BBC Radio 4) where she was discussing the underlying theme of America's attitude to torture and reaction to threat. I expected this to mean a much more ambiguous movie where we can understand why Huge Action goes postal on a suspect but loses a part of his soul, and it;s all quite troubling an nuanced.

Having now read/heard several spoiler reviews, it seems so much less than that. The ultimate conclusion that there really is an evil threat and he was right about that all along justifies his means, however misguided. In terms of what I was expecting...

- how 'triumphal' is the conclusion?
- what sense of regret / misgivings do his neighbours/family have about the torture he resorts to?
- how far are the 'innocent' victims of suspicion portrayed with humanity? What consequences are there to the suspicion they are victims of?
- how far are we given a sense that Jackman becomes a prisoner of his own fear/paranoia/suspicion?
- ...or that what he does to Paul Dano is exactly what he's afraid is happening to his daughter?
- WTF is the role of the cop?

 

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