Prisoners

Prisoners ★★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Wow, I can finally breathe normally again. I haven't seen this since it came out in theaters. I remember being blown away. I rewatched it last night, and I was STILL blown away.' Prisoners' was one intense movie-going experience. And it still holds up when watching at home. Throughout the entire running time of the movie, the suspense never lets up. Denis Villeneuve masterfully twists the haunting atmosphere, and I was at the edge of my seat.

Something that stuck to me while watching the film was the meaning of the word Prisoners. If you think of someone being a prisoner, you automatically might think of someone behind bars. Apart from a physical prison, a prisoner can also be trapped mentally, either by his own doing or by someone else. This movie that starts pretty light then gets very heavy, as it is carried by its actors. Gyllenhaal's characters might seem odd and out of place at the beginning. But he does have more to do as the movie progresses.

The plot is a beautifully complex puzzle, unraveling slowly to reveal hidden layers of depth and complexity. The acting was terrific, emotional, and nuanced, with some unforgettable moments. The two leads - Gyllenhaal and Jackman - give their career-best performances, but the most significant achievement, in my opinion, is Paul Dano's. The musical score by Johan Johannsson contributes to a sense of dread, as well as the vibrant sound design and the chilly color palette of the breathtaking cinematography. All those parts add up to a rare, gut-wrenching, dark, and fascinating masterpiece - the kind that lingers with you long after the credits roll. This is definitely one of my favorite movies of 2013.

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