Hey gang, Valkor here. When it comes to the film side of things here on the site, I know I should place more focus on theatrical releases as opposed to these straight to DVD bits that I’ve mostly been covering on the site; however sitting at home as opposed to sitting in the theater works better for me and most reviewers because it allows you the time to fully explore the film and everything about it. Whereas with the theater, you only get one shot to get all the information you need and then you have to attempt to put it all together without leaving out any important bits. Take for example “Prisoners”; because I’ve only watched it once in theaters and reviewed right after, I thought maybe there was something I was missing and that maybe my initial review was a bit unfair. It’s rare that I would want to retread a film I’ve already reviewed, but I felt this one needed another go. And thanks to the folks at Warner Home I received just that chance in the form of “Prisoners Blu-Ray Combo Pack”; after a second and third viewing of the film, is it ultimately worth your dollars?
“Prisoners” offers up a strong main cast in the form of Hugh Jackman (Keller Dover), Terrence Howard (Franklin Birch), Viola Davis (Nancy Birch) and Maria Bello (Grace Dover), who are parents whose youngest daughters were kidnapped. Their only lead is an RV driven by a man named Alex Jones (Paul Dano) who is also mentally challenged. Upon his release, Keller confronts the man who offers something of a clue as to the knowledge of the missing girls, but soon after he clams up. Keller then takes it upon himself to kidnap the young man and torture the truth out of him. On the side of law and order, we have Detective Loki, who not only has to deal with the frantic parents but as suspects and clues begin to emerge, he’ll have to try and piece it all together. This isn’t just Loki’s trek into the unknown, but it’s also Keller’s quest as a father who’ll go to the extreme to see the return of his loved ones.
“Prisoners” comes in a Blu-ray combo pack, which includes the BD and DVD discs as well as an UltraViolet digital copy. There are two behind the scenes featurettes – Prisoners: Every Moment Matters and Prisoners: Powerful Performances. Both are shorts of everyone patting each other on the back while offering not much more insight into the film itself. Or at least it didn’t go as deep as I’d have liked.
But as for the film, I go a whole lot further in my initial review and it’s definitely spoiler territory; but my main concerns about the film center on the fact that the pacing was too slow, the film could have been shortened for time, and the ending was weak. But something was truly nagging me about the film and I’d have hoped that by taking on the BD it would have solved it. And for that we’ll delve into the TOV Breakdown.
After sampling the home release, my thoughts about Prisoners is pretty much the same as the first time I experienced it; it’s a very compelling, emotional and intense film that truly take you into the depths of one father's relentless quest of finding his daughter along with a detective who wants the same - however, he wants to play it by the book. The story is great but it’s the acting that’ll lock you in and not how bad the pacing or confusing some situations might be, it’s the strong performances by the main cast that’ll keep you in your seat.
I was expecting more in terms of features with Prisoners such as a more in-depth look at the story, deleted/extended scenes, maybe an alternate ending or two; something that would truly bring some clarity to the overall film. If you want to get an idea of what I mean by this, check out “The Town: Ultimate Collector's Edition” – because the director's cut of that film blows the doors off of the theatrical cut, though it makes it a longer viewing experience; at least you get a deeper insight into the characters involved. Ben “Batfleck” Affleck made the right choice in releasing that cut. But my negatives from my first review of Prisoners carry over as well – poor pacing, could have been more torturing, and that ending.
Alex got beat to shit!
“Prisoners” is available now on BD Combo, DVD + UltraViolet and digital formats (Amazon Prime, Netflix, etc). And while the discs don’t provider much further insight, you still get a solid story with stellar performances that are certainly worth watching. And out of TOV 5 stars, my original score still stands at 3.