“Prisoners” is missing some pivotal story details, but has more than enough hauntingly superb assets to deliver a highly successful nightmarish experience.
It’s Thanksgiving and the Dovers are celebrating with their good friends and neighbors, the Birch family. After dinner, their young daughters, Ana and Joy, beg to head outside. Under the impression that they’d ask their older siblings to escort them, Keller and Grace Dover (Hugh Jackman and Maria Bello) and Nancy and Franklin Birch (Viola Davis and Terrence Howard) give them the OK. However, when the parents realize Ana and Joy never brought Ralph and Eliza (Dylan Minnette and Zoe Borde) along, they know something is terribly wrong. Panic turns to devastating dread as the hours pass and the girls fail to return home.
Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) is put on the case, confident he’ll maintain his pristine record and find Ana and Joy. He manages to pinpoint a suspect who was in the area at the time of the girls’ disappearance, but he isn’t able to accumulate enough evidence to keep him in custody. Outraged by the local authorities’ lack of progress, Keller opts to take matters into his own hands.
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Source Code is big for Duncan Jones. Having stepped into the spotlight in the best way possible via his critically acclaimed first feature, Moon, Jones was bound for big budget Hollywood. Sure enough, the opportunity arose and Source Code is his second feature. Now the question is, can Jones do it again but with a new leading man and a whole lot more money? It’s a noble effort, but in the end, Source Code makes it quite clear; lots of money and a heartthrob lead don’t guarantee you a better product.
Jake Gyllenhaal is Colter Stevens, an army captain who wakes up on a train in the body of another man only to have that train explode and then come to, yet again, in a mysterious capsule all alone. Colter’s only source of communication is a small monitor through which he talks to Colleen Goodwin (Vera Farmiga), the army personnel subordinate to Dr. Rutledge (Jeffrey Wright), the creator of the Source Code.
A bomb really did explode on a CCR train-heading straight for Chicago, but Colter wasn’t on it, that other man was, and Source Code enables Colter to inhabit that man’s body and relive the final eight minutes before the explosion in an effort to find the bomb’s detonator. When the eight minute cycle is up, that bomb explodes and Colter is whisked away back into the pod where Goodwin initiates the procedure again. Colter is assigned to do this over and over until he discovers the person responsible for the attack.
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