Just because you put together a great cast, doesn’t mean you are going to get a great movie. Oh sure, it can help elevate a mediocre script or shoddy directing. But good isn’t great and ultimately not memorable. The question is, will the movie stick with you when the lights come up in the theater. PRISONERS combines an outstanding cast with a very good script, perfect direction and gorgeous cinematography. Hugh Jackman for once isn’t playing the nice guy. His daughter (along with Terrence Howard’s) has been kidnapped on Thanksgiving. And he is pissed. The police cannot do enough. He is inconsolable. And when the suspect (a very creepy Paul Dano) is released, he goes vigilante and takes Dano because he knows he did it (did he? I’ll never tell). Jackman is a survivalist and a hunter and a man not to be fucked with. Jake Gyllenhaal’s Detective Loki is good, but not good enough for Jackman. He knows the odds of finding the girls alive go down with each day and he will extract the information and a pound of flesh from Dano until he cracks. PRISONERS pulls you along with suspense and a script full of twists and turns. The legendary Roger Deakins provides his expert cinematography (when the rain keeps falling you actually feel wet). Now, here is where the cast comes in. This material is very good, but the performances raise it to a level of excellence only really good actors can. Jackman is outstanding (better than last year’s nominated performance in Les Miserables). Gyllenhaal is subtle and wonderful. The supporting cast is comprised of a list of Oscar winners and nominees: Terrence Howard, Melissa Leo, Viola Davis and Maria Bello just to name the key players. PRISONERS holds you captive, but willingly, even though it’s almost 2-and-a-half hours long. It’s nice to see a well done adult movie after a summer of meh. — Alan Yudman

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