The Final Cut: 'Prisoners'

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September 19, 2013, 10:22 pm
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(NECN: Erick Weber) - Adults rejoice - the multiplex is yours over the next several months as Hollywood serves up a slew of movies aimed squarely at those of you over the age of 25 and this weekend we get the pairing of two of the biggest stars around - Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal - in the dark thriller "Prisoners."

Set in small-town Pennsylvania, Jackman is Keller, a blue-collar father raising his two kids in tough-guy fashion along with is wife, Maria Bello, but their world is up-ended when their young daughter and her neighborhood friend vanish.

Gyllenhaal stars as Loki, a doggedly determined detective assigned with tracking down the person - or persons - responsible for taking Jackman's daughter, as attention quickly turns to a mentally-challenged, Winnebago-driving weirdo played quite convincingly by Paul Dano.

With no evidence to keep Dano's character behind bars, Jackman takes matters into his own hands by abducting Dano and subjecting him to torture, trying to get answers by any means necessary.

Building screw-tightening tension from the opening shot, director Denis Villeneuve wastes no time drawing you in with an overwhelming sense of dread, backed by stellar performances across the board - Gyllenhaal in particular with one of his finest performances, which resonates well after the credits roll.

Though the conclusion takes a turn for the slightly absurd and the movie could use a slightly darker ending for my tastes, "Prisoners" is a tightly-calibrated drama that will keep you riveted to the screen behind Gyllenhaal and Jackman's sterling work. "Prisoners" locks up a Final Cut score of 91 percent.

Our second film is another thriller of sorts - a documentary focusing on the search for one of the most enigmatic writers in the history of literature. It's "Salinger."

The author of one of the most notorious and successful books ever written - "Catcher in the Rye" - J.D. Salinger became an overnight sensation upon its publication in the early 1950s, and then promptly dropped out of sight.

Writer and director Shane Salerno goes on the hunt for the reclusive writer, tracking down former associates, friends and romantic partners in an attempt to piece together Salinger's mega-complex psychological puzzle.

Though it's well-constructed and contains some fascinating insight into what made Salinger tick, the film repeats much of the same information over and over.

Salerno could have chopped 15 minutes off the two-hour-plus runtime and had a similar result. As such, "Salinger" snares a Final Cut score of 85 percent.

Watch the attached video for more.

Tags: prisoners, Erick Weber, The Final Cut, Salinger
It was many moons ago in a darkened theater that my love of cinema took root as I snuck in to see my first R-rated film, Blade Runner. The futuristic vision that Ridley Scott unleashed on the screen was simply soul-expanding — spiritual even. From that moment, my mission to have that kind of magic strike again began in earnest. My hope is to be able to shine a light on films that may just have that kind of effect on you — films that may be lesser known, but not lesser in impact. 
- Erick Weber

Final Cut Scoring System
99-95% Opening night
94-90% Opening weekend
89-86% In theaters
85-83% On Demand
82-80% Netflix/Redbox
79-75% If desperate
74-70% If dozing off
69-65% If intoxicated
64-60% If comatose
Below 60% If brain dead

Erick's reviews
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