Sunday, October 6, 2013

Prisoners of the Mind

Prisoners reveals that we are all prisoners of our minds. Fear and trauma makes us vulnerable and irrational. Two girls, best friends, are kidnapped. At once the joy is gone out of the lives of their families. They are inconsolable. Keller (Hugh Jackman), father of Anna, does not like being vulnerable and defenseless. He is like a man possessed, conducting his own investigations and decides that Alex, a young man with the IQ of a 10 yr. old, knows more than he is prepared to admit and stalks him. Alex's RV was on the street where the two girls played earlier and his subsequent actions render him suspicious. Keller even kidnaps and tortures Alex for information. The plot reminded me of the book Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland by Christopher Browning, in which he talks about the psychology of the middle aged veterans who were given the task of killing Jews in Germany and how they did this initially with some reluctance but how insecurity of income and peer pressure drove them to commit such heinous acts that defy description and imagination.

Keller and his vigilante justice left a very bad taste in the mouth as also the suicide in police custody of Bob Taylor, another mentally challenged person and a suspect in the kidnapping. Alex and Bob Taylor were as vulnerable and defenseless as the girls and their families. Instead of being helped they were punished for being inarticulate and mentally challenged. Which makes me wonder, will these unfortunate people ever get support in society? The movie was truly dark and disturbing. What people do when they get desperate! Cruelty is innate in man. It was easy for Keller's son to use a gun and take the life of a deer. It was easy for Keller himself to torture.
Keller with fellow sufferers Nancy and Franklin Birch
His friend and wife were so desperate for news about their own child that they condoned torture although they knew it was wrong; however reluctantly, they sanctioned an act that was sinful in itself. The kidnappers themselves took lives with deliberate intention to inspire soulless existence. A priest had to live with his conscience murdering the murderer. Even the detective Loki with all his facial tics seems to have an aura of mystery around him, battling some past demons. 

Detective Loki

We all have evil within ourselves, but this movie gives us no hope. Let us at least protect the handicapped who are even less equipped to handle the evil. The movie is far from entertaining, it left me more scared than ever in my life for the future of sanity. The acting seems secondary to the plot for there are so many twists and turns that the viewer is struggling to keep pace with the story to be bothered about the characters themselves. However, I have to say that the detective Jake Gyllenhall stood out as an extraordinary performer.

Theatrical Release Date: September 20, 2013
Director(s): Denis Villeneuve
Actor(s): Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Melissa Leo, Paul Dano, Maria Bello, Viola Davis, Terrence Howard
Genre(s): Drama, Thriller
Production Co.: Alcon Entertainment, 8:38 Productions
Distributor(s): Warner Bros
MPAA Rating: R
Website(s): Official Site, Facebook
Running Time: 153 minutes

Rating: 3 out of 5