I first became aware of Prisoners when my bestie in the US told me she’d seen the trailer for the film, fully expecting me to know what it was. As a long time fan of Mr Gyllenhaal I was both surprised and disappointed that this film could get to the stage where a trailer was in theatres and I was unaware of it’s existence. Clearly my dedication is slipping. In my defence, I was expecting Jake’s next film to be a movie going by the title of ‘Nailed’ but apparently that film has long since been shelved.
So onto Prisoners. When two 8 year old girls go missing on Thanksgiving, and the man who is taken into custody is released, the fathers of the girls, Keller Dover (Jackman) and Franklin Birch (Howard), decide to take matters into their own hands. They kidnap the young man, Alex Jones (Dano), and despite his already fragile and child-like mind, they torture him for information. Meanwhile, Detective Loki (Gyllenhaal) looks to maintain his track record of solving every case he’s ever had, and continues his search for who he believes is responsible for the abduction.
The unfortunate character name of Gyllenhaal’s detective aside, Prisoners is actually an incredibly tense, sometimes disturbing, look at what happens to the family left behind when a child goes missing. Jackman gives one of the best performances of his career here. His loyalty to his family making his character unhinged in his pursuit of answers. Howard, Bello, Davis and Leo all impress, but Jackman’s main support in the majority of his scenes is Paul Dano, who turns in one of the creepiest performances I have seen in a long time. Then there’s Gyllenhaal, who never fails to impress me. His subtle, understated, performance was just what the film needed to set him apart from the other great actors on show.
The last Jennifer Aniston film I saw at the cinema was Horrible Bosses. Which also starred Jason Sudeikis, who is in this film. And as it turned out, it wasn’t half bad. I heard similar things about this film and decided to give it a shot.
We’re The Millers tells the story of how David (Sudeikis), a guy who has done nothing with his life except sell weed since High School, ends up owing money to big time drug lord Brad Gurdlinger (Ed Helms). Gurdlinger gives David one last chance to pay him back by hiring him to get a ‘smidge’ of marijuana over the border from Mexico to the US. David decides that the only way he is going to pull this off is if he hires some people to pretend to be his ‘family’, and that way they can convince officials they are just on a family vacation. He hires a stripper, Rose (Aniston), who lives in his building to be his wife, a local homeless girl, Casey (Roberts), to be his daughter and his neighbour, Kenny (Poulter), who’s been abandoned by his mother, to be his son. They pick up an RV and have the next three days to become the perfect all American family.
Much like Horrible Bosses, this film is not half bad. It has quite a few laugh out loud scenes, at least one gross out scene which is actually nowhere near as bad as most gross out scenes in movies such as this, and it has it’s heartwarming ending. Here is where I have a problem.
There is nothing new about We’re The Millers but it’s a decent comedy none-the-less. The only downside is that during the heartwarming ending, our hero (or as close to a hero as Sudeikis‘ character gets) has a change of heart so miraculous, it would surely make even the man upstairs do a double take. His speech at the end was not only cheesy, but also completely unbelievable given what we know about his character. It’s a shame too as I really enjoyed the movie, cliches and all, up to that point.
If you can forgive a selfish character growing a conscience 15 minutes before the credits roll you should see We’re The Millers. If not, maybe give it a miss. 7 out of 10.