Commentary

September 20, 2013

Fly Over: ‘Prisoners’, and ‘Don Jon’

prisoners

In theaters: ‘Prisoners’

Director Denis Villeneuve (“Incendies”) embarking on his first major Hollywood film after years as an independent filmmaker wrote a letter to the audience humbly expressing his reservations about working with big film producers, but assured the audience that if the film was a flop it was entirely on him. Well sir, you have nothing to be sorry for.
Hugh Jackman stars as Keller Dover, a religious father of two, survivalist and under-employed carpenter who takes his family to have a Thanksgiving dinner at the Birch home (Terence Howard as Franklin and Viola Davis as Nancy). It’s a typical evening as the adults engage in a few drinks, the teenagers lounge around the T.V. and the two young girls play. That is until they realize the two girls Anna (Erin Gerasimovich) and Joy (Kyla Drew Simmons) are missing. A frantic search turns up nothing, and the local law enforcement is alerted.
It doesn’t take long for detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) and the police to apprehend Alex (Paul Dano). The greasy haired, bespectacled dimwit is sitting in his creeper RV – the two girls played on it earlier, and it’s the reason Alex was sought – and bungles an escape before he’s brought in and interrogated. Unfortunately for Loki, and the families, Alex has the IQ of a 10-year-old and communication skills of a feral child. They can only detain him for 48 hours due to a lack of evidence, but Keller is convinced he’s the guy and after a parking-lot encounter his belief is only intensified.
Keller thinks the police aren’t doing enough, and takes matters into his own hands. He kidnaps Alex and proceeds to torture him in an attempt to find his daughter. But, Alex doesn’t talk or perhaps simply doesn’t know. Herein lies the moral conflict, for some. If every part of your being is telling you this guy knows where your daughter is, what would you do? Does the means (torture) justify the end?
“Prisoners” isn’t your typical revenge thriller. It’s more gut-wrenching and keeps the audience in a constant state of tension for two and a half hours. It’s mentally engaging, and there are so many twists and turns that it’s impossible for the audience to lose interest or not care. The film is beautifully shot – dark, rainy and rustically setting the tone and adding to the feeling of impending doom. The dreary little Pennsylvania town is itself a central character.
However, it’s the performances by Jackman, Gyllenhaal and the many other characters – Melissa Leo as Alex’s aunt is terrifyingly good – that makes this such a great film. Jackman’s primal rage and manliness makes Wolverine look like a puppy dog, and Gyllenhaal has come along way from his days as Bubble Boy portraying a detective with the weight of the town on his shoulders. Thus far, this is the surprise film of the year. Simply powerful, forcing half the audience to tears as the rest gasped for air scene after scene.
“Prisoners” is incredibly complex as it forces the viewers to question themselves. What is the tipping point where the law, societal norms and religion fall by the wayside? How far would a person really go to save their child? You may think you have the answer. Watch “Prisoners” and see if you still feel the same.
This film is rated R for disturbing violent content including torture, and language throughout.

 

Don-Jon

‘Don Jon’

Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut “Don Jon” is certainly not appropriate for everyone and by everyone that means anyone who isn’t an 18-to-30-year-old male should probably find something better to do with their weekend. And if you’re looking for a date movie, certainly stay clear of this film unless it’s a bro date.
Levitt stars as Jon Martello, a Jersey-shore Guido addicted to pornography who only cares about a few things in life – his body, pad, car, family, girls, church and porn, mostly porn. It sounds an awful lot like an extended version of GTL. When we first meet Jon he’s portrayed as an over-the-top Jersey boy meathead. This caricature goes about his day in the gym, watching porn and hitting the club with his buddies where he famously has a streak of taking home a lady every night, hence the nickname his buddies bequeath him – Don.
The whole time Levitt’s voiceover explains his predicament, he enjoys porn more than he enjoys being with an actual woman. According to Jon, he can get lost in porn but as he describes it being with a living, breathing human being can be more work than it’s worth. However, things change when he meets Barbara (Scarlett Johansson) at the club – she actually succeeds in not going home with him.
The film becomes a little less ridiculous as the relationship plays out. Again, the stereotypes are a bit abrasive, but the two have chemistry. She catches him watching porn and is horrified. He promises to stop, but doesn’t. And, of course he’s caught again. But during the relationship we’re introduced to Jon’s family, which I presume would be an affront to most Italian Americans, but it’s funny – especially Tony Danza as Jon Jr.
Eventually, Jon messes everything up – always remember to delete your browsing history. But while Jon and Barbara were dating she convinced him to attend night classes – she wasn’t too fond of dating someone in the service industry – and he meets a middle aged woman (Julianne Moore) who thankfully isn’t from the shore. Moore provides the only real sense of believability as a sympathetic albeit slightly sexually devious widow who provides Jon real advice on how to be with a woman.
The film deals with a real issue in pornographic addiction but ultimately it’s a bit too blunt showing Levitt in various self-love situations as the screen flashes too often to clips of pornography – it’s redundant and often uncomfortable. Jon, with the help of Moore’s character, learns that sex is an act between two people and that by caring you can actually get lost in another person. Though everything about the film is slightly ridiculous it touches on an issue that may become more prevalent in a day and age where access to computers is more readily available for youths and the reality of sexual relationships is skewed. As Moore explains to Jon, that’s not real sex and the dimwit’s head exploded with revelation.
“Don Jon” is a disappointment. There are some big laughs, but ultimately it’s all over the place. Levitt wrote, directed and stars in the film. He’s obviously talented, so the presumption is it’ll only get better from here. But this film isn’t worth the price of admission.
“Don Jon” opens in theaters Sept. 27, and is rated R for strong graphic sexual material and dialogue throughout, nudity, language and some drug use.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
NEW_1

Luke F-35s visit Columbus AFB

Airman 1st Class Daniel Lile A T-6 Texan II roars overhead as the pilots of two Luke Air Force Base F-35 Lightning IIs prepare to exit their aircraft July 23 at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. The pilots are Capt. Nichola...
 
 

Gillespie Loop: Honors Airman who made ultimate sacrifice

BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan — The men and women of the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing came together for a road dedication ceremony to honor Master Sgt. Randy Gillespie, a fallen Airman who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Master Sgt. Randy Gillespie was a career fuels specialist who died July 9, 2007, from wounds sustained during small...
 
 

Who’s afraid of a little blood?

I have been in the Air Force for 22 years and have been a medical laboratory technician since the beginning of my career. The medical or clinical laboratory is where specimens are tested to provide information to medical providers who directly assist in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease in patients. After graduating basic...
 

 

Pursue education for career’s sake

Everyone knows education can be a good bullet on an enlisted performance report, but few know the true value of an education in regard to a military career. The pursuit of an education can be just as valuable as the degree acquired at the end. The knowledge acquired in the pursuit of an education can...
 
 
Pg-3--photo-illustration

Candid money talk improves relationship

There are many reasons why people divorce but at the top of the list are lack of communication and finances. That’s why it’s important to combine these two topics to make for a successful long-lasting relationship. “I bel...
 
 

News Briefs July 31, 2015

Total body conditioning class A new total body conditioning class is 6:30 and 9 a.m. Monday and Wednesday. The 6:30 a.m. class is broken into two half hour segments to accommodate squadron or individual physical training. The 9 a.m. class is one hour. The class consists of body weight movements and the use of equipment...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>