Prisoners Has Strong Buzz in Telluride


Prisoners and 12 Years a Slave hit the fest hard the last 24 hours, both being touted as possible Oscar contenders by those who like to splooge it out early and prematurely, as if they themselves have the power. Remember back when you had to wait? I guess that shit has sailed. Either way, splooge away there are great reviews for both films. Prisoners is reviewed by Stephen Farber for the Hollywood Reporter. I’ve heard people say it’s like Fincher’s Se7en (there is only one), or Fincher’s Zodiac (there is only one) but this graph makes it sound more in Mystic River/Changeling territory:

Can a superbly crafted film overcome audience resistance to an extremely painful subject? That is a question that Warner Bros. will be pondering nervously as Prisoners moves from its festival screenings during the next week to a wide national release later in September. The movie deals with the abduction of two young children and the havoc that this trauma wreaks on the families and police officers investigating the crime. While the subject has been in the news recently, giving the film undeniable timeliness, there’s a difference between following a disturbing news story and paying to see a similar drama unfold at the multiplex. In addition, the film doesn’t flinch from graphic moments of violence and terror.

Oscar voters have, of late, shied away from the hard core stuff, for better or worse. I’ll have to catch up with Prisoners to see for myself before I hop on the splooge bus headed for the Kodak. Something the matter with forplay?

Being touted right now are Melissa Leo (supporting), Jake Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman – but Best Actor is jam packed right now. Never say never, however.

22 Comments on this Post

  1. Bryce Forestieri

    100% Agree with you Sasha. I’m excited about this movie, but nothing I’ve seen or read about it suggests it has SE7EN or ZODIAC stature. Still if it’s along the lines of a MYSTIC RIVER, that’s pretty good and I’ll take it.

    Gyllenhaal is building quite a resume (e.g. ZODIAC) in a long varied career. Also -last year- didn’t he deserve a Best Actor nomination over his PRISONERS fellow cast member? Eventually he will be back in the game. He’s going supporting for this right?

  2. I saw this trailer today too but I didn’t realize it was supposed to be an Oscar movie. I was thinking in Russian they should show this film as counter programming to the figure skating during the Olympics since it’s full of manly men.

    The first time I saw this trailer I missed the point I guess, becase I was thinking it was like THE PETRIFIED FOREST. But then the kids get taken away? That’s what happens right? I don’t like to read reviews because of spoilers. Anyway, yeah. Jake’s hair looks stupid.

  3. Seven or Zodiac quality is fine, but if this movie is indeed on Mystic River’s level, that would be amazing. The trailer for it seemed a bit generic, but if it has more to offer then I’ll be happy to keep an eye out for it.

    I would also like to see Gyllenhaal back in the game for a nomination. His performance in Brokeback Mountain is one of my favorites from the past decade and he was also great in Source Code, End of Watch, and Love and Other Drugs. If I had to nominate him for End of Watch last year, I probably would have kicked out Phoenix from that lineup, but then John Hawkes was more deserving than both of them and would have gotten my vote instead.

  4. William Best

    I am really looking forward to this film. Denis Villeneuve made the best film of 2010 (in my opinion), for which he deservely got an Oscar nom for best foreign film. So if Prisoners is half as good, it still will be one of the years best.

  5. Tye-Grr

    No Metacritic score yet (there’s only three reviews), but of the reviews up so far, it’s earned:

    Variety: 100
    THR: 100
    Indie Wire/The Playlist: 91.

    I must admit, it has far better reviews than I had imagined it’d receive from the trailer. Jackman’s performance is earning more raves than his perf in ‘Les Mis’, saying it’s his (and Gyllenhaal’s) best performances so far.

  6. Bball_Jake

    I cant wait for Prisoners to conquer this year. Best picture please!! Its time the academy nuts up and awards a good thriller.

  7. Jake Bart

    If Jackman is even close to Oscar worthy in this, I think he’ll make it into the top 5. Baring monumental performances (think DDL in Lincoln or TWBB, Mirren in THE QUEEN, or Mo’Nique in PRECIOUS) AMPAS puts a alot of weight on who they like. There are few megastars that seem like genuinely good human beings, Jackman is certainly one of them. Such charisma is AMPAS catnip on the campaign trail.

  8. Once every single film gets designated the BEST MOVIE EVAH!, it kind of loses it magic.

  9. So the “early splooging” (gotta love bloggers) is only worthwhile when it’s you promoting a film YOU’VE seen and loved. Got it.

  10. SeattleMoviegoer

    Warners is wringing its hands about the task to “overcome audience resistance to an extremely painful subject”? Good heavens! God forbid they should back films that challenge audiences. This kind of talk depresses me.

  11. I’ve heard great things about the directing, acting, writing, cinematography and editing for this film out of Telluride, and many commenting that it could be an awards contender. But without a big-name director, with a September release date and with such tough subject matter, I don’t think it’s gonna hold on too strong by December. And most of the good reviews come with a notable criticism or two.

  12. Having read the script, I was waiting for the early reviews to see if it had been realized on the screen. It sounds as if that happened. In a year that is seeing some phenomenal films (Inside Llewyn Davis, 12 Years a Slave, Gravity etc), it may have trouble getting traction in the nominations, but definitely worth seeing.

  13. I’ve also had a chance to read the first draft of the script and, from reports, it seems the movie itself is fairly faithful to the storyline. True, it deals with contemporary social issues ( criminality and mental health) but the movie sounds like both a suspenseful film and a true character study. It seems to dwell on the strong impact on ordinary people of a life-changing crisis …and not everyone responds to it in the same way. I hope they do not market it simply as a thriller, much more a crime procedural! Any acting award consideration should be based how well each actor inhabits the role he is assigned in this drama!

  14. I think I’m more interested in the notion of a Melissa Leo supporting nod as this is the first I’ve heard of it.

    She is barely recognizable in the trailer and I’m intrigued.

    Anyone know any more info on her early reviews or chances?

  15. Casey, regarding Leo, I was curious as well so I took a look at the available reviews out of Telluride and here’s what a few reviewers are saying thus far. I wouldn’t be surprised if Leo is the only acting nomination from the film. Best Actor is looking pretty crowded this year, especially with Bruce Dern declaring he’s going for Lead so Jackman and Gyllenhaal might not be as lucky…

    “Leo, given a role rife with opportunities to ham it up, instead plays things with the sober conviction of a disappointed life, another standout in a movie with nary a squandered performance in the mix.”
    Scott Foundas, Variety

    “A brilliant supporting cast including Melissa Leo going for another supporting win.”
    Pete Hammond, Deadline

    “Virtually unrecognizable as the old and frail caretaker of Dano’s character (and is consistently as good as any character actress out there)”
    Scott Feinberg, Hollywood Reporter

  16. Deheregful

    So, is nobody going to mention the completly identical Israeli film “Big Bad Wolves” which has the same excat storyline that came out this year?
    ( I’m not suggesting one movie stole from the other but it’s a hilarious how excatly the same their plots are.)
    Big Bad Wolves just got short-listed from the israeli oscars, so there is not chance it will be sent as the oscar rep. from Israel, but it’s still funny.

  17. Wow thank you! I’m now so excited for her performance!

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