Films of the Week Vol. 7

I went to the cinema twice while in Madrid. The first I saw Prisoners and the second Gravity. With the former I was a bit disappointed and with the second I was amazed but not that much as I was hoped for. Guess I’m high maintained. But I’m so glad that I had a change to see Prisoners because in Finland the distributor changed it premier to January(!), so now I didn’t need to wait for three months.

prisoners-posterPrisoners (2013)

Directed by Denis Villeneuve

Written by Aaron Guzikowski

Starring Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Melissa Leo, Maria Bello, Viola Davis, Terrence Howard & Paul Dano

I went to see Prisoners because I needed to calm myself down. It kinda worked because the film is shot by great Roger Deakins, the one of the best cinematographers ever, so the look of the film surely calmed me. I even thought couple of times that there were few scenes because they just looked that good even though they were not necessity for the plot. The plot then again is the reason why the film let me down a bit. I had read it’s a twisting story and the ending is something you’re not expecting. Well, I don’t know about you, but I surely was expecting that, it was quite obvious from the beginning. Well, of course not the final scene but the “big” thing there. I liked the open ending. That saved a bit. And I definitely agree with Dan at Dan the Man’s Movie Reviews about that the movie does feel like David Fincher’s work but in the end the director Villeneuve is not able to carry it out the way Fincher would have (check Fight Club or Seven if you don’t know what I’m talking about).

The acting is good. Hugh Jackman is very good, maybe even in his best but then again, he has the role where he can be raging a lot and be miserable all the time. Gyllenhaal is not doing that much but I got to admit, that I always have had a huge crush on him, so I’m not able to be objective. I was just so glad to see him. I also enjoyed that the characters pasts were not told so clearly, a viewer could make his own speculations by the looks or acts of the character, like in a real world. Bello, Davis & Howard’s roles are very much supporting but Dano is again the poor weirdo and Leo again those over-protective mother-figures. She’s good though. I just wish she would someday play someone you could actually like.
All in all, Prisoners is solid. I enjoyed it, the cinematography is good, but not as great as Deakins was in Skyfall (and that was spectacular), the plot is predictable, the acting good and even though the running time is 2, 5 hours, it flies by. I recommend if you like dark, rainy, detective stories with good acting.

Rating: **** (out of *****)


Gravity (2013)

Directed by Alfonso Cuarón

Written by Alfonso & Jonás Cuarón

Starring Sandra Bullock & George Clooney

The first of all: Do see this movie. You’ve never seen anything like it. It marvels me how fast the technology is developing. And this film is one proof of that. Gravity looks amazing. Amazing. It really feels like you’re at space. Well, not really but still. You can’t explain it, you have to see it. The second time after Avatar I was amazed by 3D. I wish I could see this in IMAX but unfortunately I can’t but all of you who can, do go see it there.

When it comes to the Oscars, I predict nominations at least in the categories of the best picture, director, the leading role by actress, VFX (of course! That one it’ll win, no doubt there), sound in both categories, cinematography, script (original?), editing and score. And those are “at least” predictions. I also think that Cuarón (who has been one of my favourite directors since Y Tu Mamá También and I have waited for him to do something extraordinary) should win. Ok, I haven’t seen 12 Years a Slave but Cuarón or McQueen then. I doubt anyone else can come even near.

Except the brilliance of visual effects and especially 3D and directing, the film belongs to Sandra Bullock. She’s a lock in acting category. Though I have to admit I liked a lot of Clooney’s part. The character brought the much needed laughs and helped a lot to deepen the Bullock’s character. The film worked beautifully with these two actors. At some point I was afraid the film would end up being a beautiful shell without the actual soul but thankfully, it has them both. Thanks to the script and the acting of the leading lady.

My friend whom I went to see this film with, said that it was way out of her comfort zone by being so edge of your seat that it was draining. I agree. I got to gather myself a while before getting up. What a ride it is! So, yes, I recommend more than anything this year so far. My only complaint is that the ending was beginning to be a little bit too much and I wish I would have cried more (I’m a sucker for a big feelings) but never mind that; go and see this movie. There’s no option of not seeing it.

Rating: ****½


  1. Glad you liked Prisoners! I really enjoyed it.
    Jake Gyllenhaal and especially Hugh Jackman were terrific. I’m no fan of Paul Dano, but I thought he was surprisingly effective here (that shot of him locked up was impressive). Everyone was really good. I quite liked how it dealt with the four parents’ relationships and marriages. It makes you think how you would react in a situation like that.
    Very long film though haha.

    • Yeah, it was long but for some reason it didn’t feel like it. Maybe I was just in the right mood. I’m not Dano fan either especially because he’s usually typecast-ed. But he was good anyhow.

  2. I’ve also reviewed both films, and also had similar feelings as you! Gravity is hands down one of the best film experiences I’ve ever had. And Prisoners I really enjoyed until the last twenty minutes when I thought it resorted to derivative bad guy stereotypes and car chases. And that was only a let down because I thought the film was smarter than that.

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