January 2, 2014

Prisoners (2013)
Warner Home Video

153 mins. · R
16x9 · 1.85:1

Format
Blu-Ray

Audio
English - DTS 5.1 HD Master Audio
French - DD 5.1
Spanish - DD 5.1

Subtitles
English, French, Spanish

Extras
Featurettes, Digital Copy

Starring
Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Terrence Howard, Maria Bello, Viola Davis, Paul Dano

Review by
Guido Henkel


Rating



(2013)

Prisoners


The abduction of their children is without a doubt the biggest nightmare imaginable for any parent. The anguish and the pain cannot be fathomed and the fear of such a kidnapping puts most parent on edge. The question is only natural then, what do you do if it actually happens and you feel that the authorities are not doing enough? "Prisoners" is a taught thriller that examines this question through an intense story.

It is Thanksgiving time and somewhere on the East Coast, local contractor Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) and his wife Grace (Maria Bello) celebrate the day with their friends and neighbors Franklin Birch (Terrence Howard) and his wife Nancy (Viola Davis). The kids are happy and the two youngest girls decide to go over to the Dover's house to look for a toy. And then they disappear!

Frantically, the families look for their smallest children, scout the neighborhoods, search the house, but they are gone without a trace. When the police arrive the only clue is a strange RV that was parked outside one of the houses down the street earlier. Instantly, the officers hone in on the RV, locate it and arrest the driver. And yet, there is no sign of the girls. Without any evidence, the driver, Alex Jones (Paul Dano) a simple-minded young man with the IQ of a ten-year old, is being released.

Keller is beside himself with fury, convinced without a doubt that Alex is the kidnapper, particularly, when Alex makes a cryptic mention to Keller that seems to refer to the girls. But without another witness, Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) who is handling the case, is unable to pursue Alex any further and continues to look for clues elsewhere.

Unwilling to sit on his hands while the time ticks away, Keller decides to take matters in his own hands. He kidnaps Alex and begins torturing him in order to find out what he has done to the children. Within an instant, the doting father turns into a monster...

The film features a great cast that brings the story to life in a powerful way. Though not without flaws, the story is intense from beginning to end and makes viewers truly question themselves how far they would go in a situation such as this. While everyone's mileage may vary, there can be no question, I suppose, that we can all understand the motivation that drives Keller to the brink, disregarding all of his inhibitions and never stopping to ask himself, what if I got the wrong guy?

Warner Home Video is presenting "Prisoners" in a clean transfer that restores every detail of the film in its 1080p high definition glory. From high contrast wintery scenes in the snow to interiors that are filled with warm lights, the transfer is always impeccably capturing the look of the film without the slightest flaw. The print is entirely without blemishes and defects.

The release features a DTS 5.1 HD Master Audio track that is balanced and makes good use of the surround channels. While this is not a showpiece kind of track - it's just not the kind of film for that - the track is notably active and offers a wide frequency response to create a very natural sounding presentation.

As bonus features the release contains "Every Moment Matters," in which Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal discuss the relationship between their two characters, while "Powerful Performances" gives you a closer look at the shoot of the film.

The release also contains a DVD copy of the film as well as an Ultraviolet Digital HD version.

"Prisoners" is high intensity cinema in a dramatic sense. The connection we make with the characters, the way we observe and possible agree with their abandoning of the rules, is an indication, just how deep the paternal instinct of protectiveness runs within all of us. This is a great film that truly deserves to be seen.


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