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'Prisoner' Reviews: Hugh Jackman's 'Oscar-Worthy' Performance


hugh jackman prisoners

Early reviews for Hugh Jackman's upcoming thriller "Prisoners" are out and they're overwhelming positive.  

After a few slow weeks at the box office, this will be the first big film of the fall. 

Jackman stars as Keller Dove, a man who's six-year-old daughter and friend are kidnapped on Thanksgiving. Jake Gyllenhaal plays Detective Loki the cop in charge of the investigation. Dove takes justice into his own hands when he kidnaps the suspected kidnapper.  

It sounds and looks like "Taken" meets "Hostel."

"Prisoners" comes from director Denis Villeneuve who's 2010 film "Incendies" was nominated for an Oscar.

Here's what you need to know before seeing the film:

An overwhelming number of reviews say Hugh Jackman gives "what honestly might be his best performance."

Hitfix's Kristopher Tapley even highlights that Jackman's desperation as a father could possibly lend itself to Oscar talk.  Stephen Farber of "The Hollywood Reporter," (THR) says Jackman delivers a satisfyingly intense performance by "illuminat[ing] the character’s conflicted nature without ever begging for sympathy." 

While Variety's Scott Foundas calls it a performance "void of vanity or the desire to be loved by the audience" making every moment must-watch.

But don't count out Gyllenhaal. He's great, too.

gyllenhaal prisonersEW's Owen Gleiberman says the Gyllenhall "redefines himself" by breaking out of a nice-guy cliché.  

Foundas notes this film shows the actor's range when comparing his performance in "Prisoners" with that of his previous role in "Zodiac." 

Best of all, the film isn't predictable. 

Practically everyone from EW to Variety and agrees that the plot twists and turns are original, leading up to what Farber calls an unpredictable ending.

Foundas says Villeneuve delivers in his first English debut"without ever resorting to cheap shock effects or compromising the integrity of the human drama."

Tapley of Hitfix describes the film's payoff best calling it "a patient film, almost painful in its suspense, and as mentioned, unafraid of pushing to an arguably unnecessary length."

The music 

Variety also points out a score from composer Johann Johannsson helps pull the dark theme together with "haunting, mournful notes."


Despite the great reviews, Time critic Richard Corliss says not to buy the hype saying the film suffers from some "ludicrous" dialogue.  

"The needless padding comes from the actors repeating essential lines of dialogue two or three times — you know, because that’s what real people do," writes Corliss. 

The Telegraph's Tim Robey says a "major disappointment" is how little Maria Bello and Viola Davis get to show off their prowess"though both make hay with the few significant moments dispensed."

Overall consensus: See it

The screenplay, from Aaron Guzikowski, has been floating around for nearly a decade in Hollywood, so many were happy to see it come to the big screen. If you love watching Jackman on screen or are fans of similar-sounding films "Se7en" and "Zodiac,""Prisoners" sounds like a solid thriller. 

Check out the trailer below:

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