Prisoners

Prisoners posterWarner Bros. (2013) 153 min. R

Director: Denis Villeneuve

Screenplay: Aaron Guzikowski

Cinematography: Roger A. Deakins; Editing: Joel Cox & Gary D. Roach

Production Design: Patrice Vermette; Set Decoration: Frank Galline

Costumes: Renée April

Score: Jóhann Jóhannsson

Stars: Hugh Jackman (Keller Dover), Jake Gyllenhaal (Detective Loki), Terrence Howard (Franklin Birch), Paul Dano (Alex Jones), Viola Davis (Nancy Birch), Maria Bello (Grace Dover), Melissa Leo (Holly Jones), Dylan Minnette (Ralph Dover), David Dastmalchian (Bob Taylor)

Prisoners has the slow, steady seep of other depressing, missing children milk carton movies such as Adam and ChangelingThe Atlanta Child Murders and Gone Baby Gone. There’s no moment as gut wrenching as when the realization first dawns that these kids have been taken. It’s every parents worst nightmare. Following the disappearance of two little girls on Thanksgiving, Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) must release his prime suspect (Paul Dano) from custody when no evidence surfaces to hold him. Feeling the system has failed, Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman), father of one of the missing girls, takes the law into his own hands, Continue reading

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The Place Beyond the Pines

The Place Beyond The Pines posterFocus Features (2013) 140 min. R

Director: Derek Cianfrance

Screenplay: Derek Cianfrance, Ben Coccio & Darius Marder

Cinematography: Sean Bobbitt

Editing: Jim Helton & Ron Patane

Production Design: Inbal Weinberg; Set Decoration: Jasmine E. Ballou

Costumes: Erin Benach; Score: Mike Patton

Stars: Ryan Gosling (Luke Glanton), Bradley Cooper (Avery Cross), Eva Mendes (Romina), Dane DeHaan (Jason), Emory Cohen (A.J.), Ben Mendelsohn (Robin), Ray Liotta (Deluca), Rose Byrne (Jennifer), Mahershala Ali (Kofi), Bruce Greenwood (Bill Killcullen), Harris Yulin (Al Cross)

Director Derek Cianfrance’s expansive examination of the father-son conflict as it plays out across two generations in the intersecting lives of a cop and a robber, sounds promising but turns out to be more ambitious than illuminating. Handsomely photographed by Sean Bobbitt, there are clear elements of classic Greek tragedy in this simple, modern dress drama strongly tempered by the hand of fate and pre-destiny. Which may explain why the unusual three-act structure that’s been applied by Cianfrance, along with co-screenwriters Ben Coccio and Darius Marder, seems to more legitimately belong to the theater than the screen. Continue reading