Posts Tagged ‘Prisoners’

‘Sunshine on Leith’ (Dexter Fletcher, 2013)/’Prisoners’ (Denis Villeneuve, 2013)

Knowing next to nothing about The Proclaimers, I’m ill equipped to assess whether jukebox musical Sunshine on Leith satisfies the hardcore that’ve pined over every syllable of their back catalogue for thirty years. My emotional baggage, for better or worse, limited to a spike of delight whenever the camera glosses over the Edinburgh scenery, I found this something of a voyage of discovery, engaging with the songs simply in the context of Dexter Fletcher’s film without worrying about omitted favourites or oversight. On this level, I found it inordinately satisfying, charming and a reminder of the quite unique pleasures the movie musical can offer. After being so down on Tom Hooper’s over-wrought and mangled stab at Les Misérables this spring, it’s nice to be reminded that when enough is done early to forge those essential emotional connections, there’s much delight to seeing well-drawn characters break into song.

Prisoners reminded me of those crisp, frosty Scandinavian thrillers that keep blessing TV and film, director Denis Villeneuve bringing a little French-Canadian charm and some sharp old Roger Deakins photography to the North American setting. It’s long, satisfying, but ever-so-slightly generic with the central moral conundrum conflicting somewhat with the pulpier elements.

The cast are uniformly excellent and get to dig in deep, Jackman growling through the opportunity to indulge in his dark side whilst Gyllenhaal builds on strong recent work in End of Watch and Source Code. I was impressed by how relentlessly dour Villeneuve’s film was, giving good reason to believe Paul Dano’s torture victim is a culpable party in the abduction whilst ceaselessly questioning the ethical implications of Jackman’s conduct. Solid.

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