Keller Dover, a loving father and husband, prides himself on being prepared for any situation. When Keller's six year old daughter, Anna, goes missing with her young friend Joy, Keller's structured lifestyle goes crashing down. The only potential lead to his daughters disappearance comes from a dilapidated RV that was seen parked on the street. Heading up the investigation, Detective Loki arrests the driver, but a lack of evidence forces him to release the suspect. With every passing hour Keller becomes increasingly more desperate, leading him down a dark path in which ethics and morality become blurred. Denis Villeneuve's American debut Prisoners is an unsettling crime drama exploring the moral and ethical complications that arise in tragedy and desperation. Villeneuve's directorial style is very much intact, using precise camerawork that really gives the film a rich atmosphere, emphasizing the overall tension of the narrative. With Deakins as the cinematographer, the film's lighting emphasizes the lightness and darkness of every scene, punctuating the film's thematic message about the blurred lines between right and wrong, light and darkness. Another great decision was Villeneuve's use of Religious imagery throughout Prisoners. He routinely juxtaposes such imagery against the harsh, vengeful mindset of Keller, with great emotional effect. Thematically there is a lot going on, but what ultimately makes Prisoners work so well is its well developed characters. Villenueve spends the time necessary to explore all of these characters, from the protective father Keller to the loving mother, Holly, whose mentally overwhelmed and destroyed by the thought of losing her little girl. The viewer really gets into the psyche of these various characters understanding their pain, strife and mindset. Denis Villeneuve's Prisoners is a strong crime drama that is a worthy film for his first foray into "mainstream" filmmaking.
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