Every now and then, a movie is filled with so much talent that we can't help but check it out. A great example of this is Hugh Jackman's 2013 film Prisoners, which was directed by acclaimed Dune director Denis Villeneuve. The movie is a killer thriller that kept us sweating the entire time, and if you don't mind a few good scares, you can now stream this cult classic on Netflix.
Sure, you're probably mostly tuning in to see Hugh Jackman, but what is Prisoners actually about? In short, the film is about two girls that get kidnapped, but things go from bad to worse after the police arrest a suspect and then subsequently release him. At this point, the father of one of the girls (played with perfect intensity by Jackman) decides to take justice into his own hands, and everything keeps getting messier from scene to scene.
One of the reasons we were most excited to watch this film is that Hugh Jackman isn't the only amazing talent that was cast in Prisoners. The movie is filled with other big and beloved names, including Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Terrence Howard, and Paul Dano. And it was directed by Denis Villeneuve, the man responsible for bringing us such ambitious hits as Blade Runner 2049 and Dune.
One of the most interesting things about the film is that, long before Hugh Jackman was cast, Prisoners came very close to not getting made at all. Aaron Guzikowski wrote a great script that was loosely inspired by Edgar Allen Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart," and it attracted some big names that wanted to star in it (such as Christian Bale and Leonardo DiCaprio).
Big names also wanted to direct it (including Bryan Singer). But those big names eventually passed on the opportunity, and the film would likely never have gotten made if Mark Wahlberg (who helped produce Prisoners but doesn't star in it) hadn't given it a major endorsement.
Fortunately, Wahlberg's faith in the film was soon rewarded: anchored by Hugh Jackman's mesmerizing performance, Prisoners ended up making over $122 million worldwide. Considering that it was made for a budget of $46 million, Warner Bros. was quite happy with how much profit the film made.
And considering how poorly The Flash is doing at the box office right now, the studio is likely longing for the days of smaller films like Prisoners making large and unexpected profits.
While Hugh Jackman's unconventional thriller proved to be a hit with audiences around the world, the film also managed to impress critics. The movie currently has an 81 percent critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes, meaning that it's "Certified Fresh" for your viewing pleasure.
Even more impressively, it has an 87 percent audience rating based on more than 100,000 user ratings, meaning this film is an unqualified hit across the board.
In terms of major awards, Hugh Jackman's thriller Prisoners was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Cinematography (it really is a beautiful film). It also won some other prestigious awards, including National Board of Review awards for Top Ten Films as well as Best Cast. And it even won a Saturn Award for Best Make-Up, which helps to showcase the sheer depth of talent that went into the making of this film.
Obviously, as successful and beloved as the movie is, it's not going to be everyone's cup of tea. Some fans come to the film simply because they loved Hugh Jackman in the X-Men films, and they get disappointed to find their favorite mutant in the midst of a depressing thriller like Prisoners.
But if you don't mind seeing Jackman stretch his acting chops rather than his side chops, and you don't mind a morally murky thriller, then this is a film you will be thinking about long after the credits roll.
If you can't tell, we're big fans of Hugh Jackman in general and Prisoners in particular, and with the caveat that the film is both dark and sad, we're recommending it to all film lovers. It's perfectly cast, beautifully shot, and has a tense story that keeps you on the edge of the couch. And after you stream it on Netflix today, you'll know what the hype is all about.
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