Author Topic: Prisoners  (Read 3897 times)

ArmenianScientist

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Re: Prisoners
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2013, 05:11:01 PM »
You're doing a wise thing by avoiding watching this thing and reading about how awful it is instead.

- how 'triumphal' is the conclusion?

Not very triumphal, but this has more to do with Jackman getting locked up in an underground cell than it does with moral concerns. I also get the sense that Villeneuve avoids triumph because he genuinely enjoys exploiting misery. Villeneuve underplays the hell out of the moments when the two girls are finally rescued, which runs counter to the overbearingly melodramatic way he handles every miserable moment. One could argue that this is because Villeneuve doesn't want to let the happiness of the girls' rescues smooth over all the sorrow that preceded them. But I think it has more to do with Villeneuve being a sadistic bastard who only cares about getting a rise out of the audience in the most cynical, manipulative way possible.

- what sense of regret / misgivings do his neighbours/family have about the torture he resorts to?

Pretty much none. One thing I noticed was how easily Terrence Howard goes along with Jackman's torturing after he initially opposed it. When Viola Davis (Howard's wife) sees Paul Dano with his face beaten to a pulp, she is appropriately disgusted/sad, but all she ends up doing is asking Dano where her daughter is. She doesn't ask her husband how he could be such a monster by going along with torture or try to convince Jackman to stop. One could argue that her parental instincts override morality, but I think it has more to do with Villeneuve wanting to bypass moral engagement in favor of cheap thrills. Lastly, at the end of the film Jackman's wife says that he might have done questionable things, but he's still a good man. Villeneuve seems to take these comments at face value, especially considering how many shots of Jackman praying there are in the film. Reminder that the evil people are anti-God. (You can't make this stuff up).

- how far are the 'innocent' victims of suspicion portrayed with humanity? What consequences are there to the suspicion they are victims of?

There are no innocent victims. Anyone who they are suspicious of ends up being involved in the evil clan of kidnappers. Leo ends up saying that Dano wanted to return the girls after kidnapping them. But he's still an idiot creep in an RV who kidnapped children. In the scene where the police apprehend Dano, they pull guns at the RV, causing Dano to speed into the trees and injure himself. At that point it seemed like the film was trying to show how the police was unjustly detaining a mentally-challenged person without much evidence of his guilt. But he ends of being guilty and what he suffers in the accident at the police station is nothing compared to the torture he endures later.

- 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?

The one thing the film does right is make Jackman miserable throughout the entire film. And I guess to the film's credit, Jackman brings up to Leo how now her son, in addition to his daughter, is missing. But ultimately, the audience is made to suffer because his girl is lost and might be dead, not because we are allowed feel much empathy towards Paul Dano who is made to seem as grotesque and irredeemable as possible throughout the film.

- WTF is the role of the cop?

To be woefully incompetent at every turn until the ending when he is partially redeemed after rescuing the girl. (To give you an idea of just how far Villeneuve will go to manufacture suspense, right at the moment the cop finds Jackman's daughter Leo is giving her a lethal injection.)  Making the cop so ineffectual is the film's sliest way of pardoning torture. Jackman couldn't rely on the police to rescue the children, so he had to take matters into his own hands. The ends justify the means, yay vigilante justice, etc.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2013, 05:37:59 PM by ArmenianScientist »

Totoro

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Re: Prisoners
« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2013, 07:14:30 PM »
Villineuve also robs us of the discovery of Dano's character by Gyllenhaal, further illustrating the lack of dimensionality that he's bringing to the film. What we could have got is a pretty cathartic moment, seeing a tortured, mentally handicapped man get saved, instead, we see none of it, instead going back to the Jackman's family being all sad about not knowing his whereabouts.

This movie makes me so angry! But not in the right ways! If this continues to make box office, I fear that I will have to endure its praise through the Oscar season. I don't want to be a prisoner!

With fronds like these...

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Re: Prisoners
« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2013, 03:27:09 AM »
Wow. Thanks ArmenianScientist for such a detailed takedown. The Radio4 piece really suggested this had something to say about the American response to threat & the use of torture. It appears that something is

(a) you're right
(b) be afraid, be very afraid
(b) whatever you do, you're right

FLYmeatwad

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Re: Prisoners
« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2013, 08:55:09 AM »
Villineuve also robs us of the discovery of Dano's character by Gyllenhaal, further illustrating the lack of dimensionality that he's bringing to the film. What we could have got is a pretty cathartic moment, seeing a tortured, mentally handicapped man get saved, instead, we see none of it, instead going back to the Jackman's family being all sad about not knowing his whereabouts.

This movie makes me so angry! But not in the right ways! If this continues to make box office, I fear that I will have to endure its praise through the Oscar season. I don't want to be a prisoner!

Maybe in pre talks, but despite Villineuve's past success and the slate of heavy hitters coming up in the future before the awards, this one doesn't have a legitimate shot of getting nominated for much of anything.

Lobby

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Re: Prisoners
« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2013, 12:56:49 AM »
I just found this thread and I barely dare to say anything seeing this massive hatred for this movie. Not wanting to start a huge argument or anything (your conviction seems so strong that I honestly don't think we'll get anywhere): [whisperning] I loved this film.
I thought Hugh Jackman was amazing in it, I completely forgot it was Hugh Jackman.
I didn't think we rooted for his overviolence. Seeing why he does something isn't to agree with it.
I was on the edge of my seat throughout the film. Seeing it was watching an entire season of a very well made TV series, but condenced into a tighter form.
While it didn't have quite the impact on me as Incendies, which was more powerful visually and musically, I still had a very satisfying, although exhausting, movie going experience.

Perhaps I'm a shallow, easily manipulated person. Perhaps the stars aligned when I watched it in a way they didn't for you. I don't begrudge you your views. But I owe it to the film to point out that there are other views on this film, that the criticism against it isn't unanimous.
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jdc

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Re: Prisoners
« Reply #15 on: November 14, 2013, 02:07:18 AM »
I just found this thread and I barely dare to say anything seeing this massive hatred for this movie. Not wanting to start a huge argument or anything (your conviction seems so strong that I honestly don't think we'll get anywhere): [whisperning] I loved this film.
I thought Hugh Jackman was amazing in it, I completely forgot it was Hugh Jackman.
I didn't think we rooted for his overviolence. Seeing why he does something isn't to agree with it.
I was on the edge of my seat throughout the film. Seeing it was watching an entire season of a very well made TV series, but condenced into a tighter form.
While it didn't have quite the impact on me as Incendies, which was more powerful visually and musically, I still had a very satisfying, although exhausting, movie going experience.

Perhaps I'm a shallow, easily manipulated person. Perhaps the stars aligned when I watched it in a way they didn't for you. I don't begrudge you your views. But I owe it to the film to point out that there are other views on this film, that the criticism against it isn't unanimous.

Don't worry, you are not alone.  While I understand some of the reaction here, I didn't really feel it while watching the film. 
"Beer. Now there's a temporary solution."  Homer S.
“The direct use of physical force is so poor a solution to the problem of limited resources that it is commonly employed only by small children and great nations” - David Friedman

Totoro

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Re: Prisoners
« Reply #16 on: November 14, 2013, 05:16:02 AM »
I often feel like I am on an alien planet when people praise Hugh Jackman in this role. Without a doubt, one of the worst performances I have seen in years.

smirnoff

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Re: Prisoners
« Reply #17 on: November 21, 2013, 05:02:02 PM »
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.

What difference does it make whether child abductions are in fact likely or unlikely?

It plays into that fear insomuch as we are expecting something to happen, because this is a movie and it wouldn't be a story worth telling if it didn't.

Jaws plays into the fear of unlikely things... who cares? The fact that it happens THIS TIME is what makes it a movie worth making.

You can't make a movie about all the times nothing happens in the world. I don't understand this criticism at all.

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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.

Hugh Jackman is a suspect and he's not meek or socially awkward.

You really feel this movie is picking on a group? Really?... REALLY?!

Do all movies with meek and socially awkward suspects receive this level of contempt from you, or just the ones you hate?

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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.

Do all crime movies with renegade cops receive this level of contempt from you, or just the ones you hate?

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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.

I agree this is dumb.

Even though it may be plausible that he's a sloppy cop (as later he lets a suspect steal his gun from him), and that in the moment he may be more worried about finding a dismembered body in the boxes than deal with the snakes, as a scene it doesn't do anything but make the audience say "close the box you idiot".

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

What other motives could there be for doing what they do? Sexual? I suppose so. Either way it doesn't take much more than a sentence to explain it. What more do you want?

I thought the woman actually laid out a pretty detailed explanation for doing what she did... to the point where I was kind of like "okay, I guess I can see the internal logic there, given what she believes". It certainly wasn't just "because evil".

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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.

Are you suggesting the movie endorsed what Hugh Jackman did, and tried to get the audience to endore it? Really?

smirnoff

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Re: Prisoners
« Reply #18 on: November 21, 2013, 05:22:49 PM »
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!

What about when tells Terrance Howard he can let Dano go if he wants to? Doesn't that show a different dimension?

smirnoff

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Re: Prisoners
« Reply #19 on: November 21, 2013, 05:43:54 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.

I don't see it that way at all. If Hugh Jackman is the one with the Right Wing Fantasy (end of the world, basement full of guns and food), his "pray for the best, prepare for the worst" stuff didn't do him a damn bit of good. His fantasy wasn't fulfilled at all. It was bypassed. Circumstances found a way to CINECAST! him in spite of all his praying and preparation. His religion was worthless to him. His ring-wingedness was worthless to him.

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The torture ultimately somewhat leads Dover to his daughter ("you were there" well why was he there?) so that is justified too.

It leads him into a trap and then to jail. It was all pretty inconsequential to Gylenhall finding his daughter. It's quite an assumption to say that the character, in retrospect, would see what he did as justified or right, or not learn anything.

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The police are too bumbling and too stupid to get the job done.

Except that they do ultimately get the job done.

 

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