Cinematic Releases: Prisoners

This week's release of Prisoners presents us with the best dramatic movie of 2013 and possibly the strongest performance of Hugh Jackman's career. It's an emotionally draining thriller that won't disappoint with its taught story telling and hyper realistic presentation of a kidnapping and the parents that just want their kids back.

Yes, prisoners is violent at times but with purpose. This is a film that will make parents cringe and will definitely make you realize the true evil that exists in this world. Prisoners is not a celebration of bloodshed or vengeance. Instead, it's a perfect portrayal of a family's struggle to find their children and the violent lengths that any parent might go to in the hopes of bringing them home.

The cast features Terrence Howard, Maria Bello, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Viola Davis in some of the best performances of their illustrious careers. But, the true stand out is Hugh Jackman. With Prisoners, Jackman takes a break from Wolverine and offers a stellar performance that absolutely trumps his turn as Jean Valjean. Jackman portrays a man with one thing in mind. He wants his daughter back and will go to any lengths to find her. From beginning to end, Jackman is a trove of emotion. He runs the gamut. From happy dad to sad to sloppy drunk to hate filled deliverer of justice, Jackman brings his best game and never hesitates in this performance. Paul Dano also shines in Prisoners. Much like his Eli Sunday in There Will Be Blood, Dano has a gift for off beat and mentally disturbed characters.

Prisoners is the one must see film of 2013. It will drain you emotionally while presenting its timely story of love, loss, and vengeance. The violence may be a bit much for some to bear but is ultimately something that's done out of necessity instead of glorification. The plot unfolds perfectly over two and a half hours while delivering some of the most well plotted character development of the year.

You can feel the anger seething from Jackman while Bello's grief tugs at your heart. You can sense Dano's mental instability and fear while Terrence Howard's indecisiveness and trepidation will make you want to kick him in the teeth. This is how film making is done. And this is how Oscars are won.

-Review by Chris George