Critics' Corner: Prisoners

"Prisoners" brings us some relatively new faces on the creative Hollywood scene and what they bring us is completely promising if not great. Veteran Coen Brothers cinematographer Roger Deakins lends his expertise to newcomer writer Aaron Guzikowski and Director Denis Villeneuve. You can certainly see the influence of Deakins throughout the film and his beautiful take on reality in a chaotic situation.

This is one of those films that you donâ??t want to know a thing about before you go. You donâ??t even want to hear people brushstroke over it because even that is something you donâ??t want to hear. For that matter, I wonâ??t even go close to going there. I will give you a brief introduction to what you should expect. Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) and his wife Grace (Maria Bello), walk down the street to their neighbors, Franklin Birch (Terrence Howard) and Nancy (Viola Davis). They each have a daughter and along the course of the evening, those two daughters disappear without a trace.

"Prisoners" is a gut-wrenching and fast running two and a-half hour movie. It is filmed in such a way that the events that unfold could involve you, your neighbor, somebody across town and on your local news. Along with the way the movie is filmed and told, it is gifted with phenomenal actors that bring the reality of the situation to the surface.

It is an exhausting an emotionally filled movie from top to bottom and its subject matter will have your stomach in knots until the credits roll. This, quite simply, is what movies are all about. Too often these days, movies make you feel nothing. Too many directors and writers are concerned with what you see and forget that first and foremost, what makes great cinema and long lasting cinema, is the feeling it leaves in your stomach and soul. At one point, Keller Doverâ??s sadness effected me so much that I felt as if I was actually him or in the least, one of his family members or a great friend.

"Prisoners" is the kind of movie we should be flocking to the theaters to see until Hollywood gets the message that we want to feel something. Sure, dazzle us with visuals, but until you relay empathy in your audience members, you have wasted millions of dollars and time. "Prisoners" is tremendous filmmaking. It is one of the best and most complete films of the year and will almost certainly be a member of the Oscar night nominees.