Saturday, 28 September 2013



The Zodiac Bones.

153 Minutes. Starring: Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard, Melissa Leo & Paul Dano. Director: Denis Villeneuve.

This film should come with a parental advisory sticker. Any parent who watches this crime thriller will be locking up their daughters like father's of wayward teenage girls. 'Prisoners' isn't some inmate flick behind bars, instead its a film about the kidnapping of two young daughters by someone you want caged that will leave you more than concerned, strained and emotionally exhausted over it's almost three hour run time. Sounds awful right? Well know this detective drama of epic emotionally evoking proportions is arguably one of the best, albeit brutal films of an incredible 2013. Just think of the 'Zodiac' investigation film of years back, with similar taught themes and textures this long film really draws you in and through the lives of the detective and families looking for these lost girls. Between whistles and RV's this warning blowing drive through the hearts of family matters is an angel and demons story that takes you through heaven and hell before you've even had time to miss your mouth with the popcorn. If you don't feel attached morally to this one you might want to rewrite your list of priorities.

The 'Zodiac' starred and showed just how good an actor Jake Gyllenhaal was and is before he hit a hot streak of 'Source Code', 'Love and Other Drugs' and another cop thriller 'End Of Watch' to end his patrol last year. Far from 'The Day After Tomorrow' or the end of his career, Gyllenhaal was the obvious choice for lead detective in this investigation. Playing Detective Loki (yeah, I know) with avengance but no mind or word game crossing to the marvelled dark side. Jake assembles his 'Brokeback' best acting skill set to deliver an innermost, inspired performance behind those jail-house tattoos and slicked back cop hair. Armed with a badge, gun and beat up Lincoln town cruiser, whose open door alarm rings out his loneliness and solitary work this aesthetic is a metaphor for the small-town restriction of police poverty. It's clear he's graduated from 'Zodiac' paperboy cartoonist to the real lawman enforcer ready to solve any head case before him, no matter how maddening or muddled the maze. His place next to the DiCaprio's, Pitt's and Gosling's of pretty boys turned matured, great male actors is sat perfectly here, looking good. From being a truly 'beat' cop to breaking down along with the strands of evidence can our detective pull it all together like the actor playing him has done for himself?

Hugh Jackman certainly hopes so, matching Jake's incredible performance and upping the emotional and anger ante as the father of this picture. Gripping his Wolverine claws into a powerful performance and a woodsman's beard, this pickup driving, boot-cut, checked American family man just shows how far someone will go to get the people they love back. No matter how deep, dark and disturbing it gets. Jackman just may be the movie man of the year. After proving he could act and sing in 'Les Miserables' he steps it up to an even higher note here after recharging 'The Wolverine' in Tokyo, Japan ahead of next years 'X-Men: Days Of Future Past'. Following his 'X', co-star Halle Berry's impressive crime abduction thriller 'The Call' this week, Hugh brings a storm of his own to this windy Winter picture. Next year looks to be great for the Australian but Hugh can only top this years holy trinity of big blockbusters with more than this. This being bold and bleak, from opening this film with a stoic lords prayer to looking like he's about to give everyone in his way their last rights. Jackman yet again shows the real, great actor behind the adamantium with an artillery of emotional and passion ammunition. Now will you agree at how far his character crosses the line as Jackman draws another one under his Academy worthy career?

The all-star, incredible cast and performances don't end there...and the awards for these Academy nominated thespians may not either. The ever rising talent of Viola Davis and Maria Bello are magnificent as the mothers in this piece, while person of interest Paul Dano is disturbingly great as the accused abductor extending his character actor range as he does every other parts rage. There's more to this line-up with Terrence Howard who shows an incredible, quiet-storm, emotionally intense performance as a father bulking and breaking down under the pressure. The man who gave 'Crash', 'Harts War', 'Four Brothers' and 'The Brave One' more fight with his emotional punch returns to the critic and award recognition that should have never been relinquished. Than there's the ever age and appearance changing, chameleon Oscar winning 'Fighter' Melissa Leo. After translating some depth to 'Oblivion' from a digital console and making every role she's called on her own she ages and hits the lonesome cigarettes not gracefully but sensationally. All the parts of this picture are what make it a massive maze of script turns and spine tingling cold burns. Leo's fighting son Mark Wahlberg executive produces his best work this year after an incredible 'Broken City', '2 Guns' and 'Pain & Gain' 2013 which looks to lead to a great 'Ted' and 'Transformer' sequel 2014. Behind the scenes the man who starred in 'The Lovely Bones' abduction drama helps craft one of this years hidden treasures of Academy gold movie making.

From the rain and snow soaked fall of a blue-collar American suburban aesthetic to the stricken lives of it's subjects this story is more harrowing than moving. Sure that doesn't sound very enjoyable, but any film looking to deliver a powerful, real-world, real-life message will have to write one deeper than this if looking to get through to their audience. Some of this unfinished business and loose ends make this feel like some 'No Country For Old Men' but this is how real and raw it gets. Not everything ends with a happy, closure tied Hollywood bow. Hard to watch or write, this film is necessary in warning people about how and what can happen in extreme circumstances of desperate measures, making us look at life and ourselves. After shooting down every bad guy in the Wild West in his youth, Clint Eastwood dedicated some of his directorial movies into exposing and teaching us about heinous, cruel crimes to children ('Mystic River' and 'Changeling'). Sort of like a mission that next great actor turned director Ben Affleck did with his very first movie ('Gone Baby Gone'). Here, both greats would even have trouble matching the investigational and emotional heights of this one. The snakes and ladders of this suspenseful, taught and tense, Denis Villeneuve next great director confirming, race against time and crime picture is no game. 'Prisoners' takes no easy route to its ending and is one of the most arresting dramas you'll ever be locked in with. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

No comments:

Post a Comment