Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Manhood and Its "Prisoners"

 Jake Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman in 'Prisoners'

“Prisoners” is an absorbing mystery thriller about a town plagued by years of child abductions, starring the always-engaging Hugh Jackman as an authoritarian survivalist male who is out of his depth. Jake Gyllenhaal gives a subtle performance as a watchful police detective named, for some intriguing reason, Loki.
It's easy to lose track of the number of prisoners in the film, and some of them — like Jackman's character Keller Dover — are prisoners of ideas that finally do not serve them or their communities well.
Denis Villeneuve’s film gives us things to think about as it spins out its web of fairly excruciating suspense — among them, the limited utility of masculine aggression. That very idea violates what is virtually a 21st century Hollywood movie sacrament.
I was interested to realize, considering the film's ruminations on masculinity, that one of the final breathless scenes exactly parallels a situation in "True Grit." That's what Jackman has, too, and it isn't nearly enough.

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