FILM: Rulebreaker / Imagemaker AND Some Thoughts on Prisoners
1. I went into this film knowing one thing about it: that it's about a six-year old girl who gets abducted and her father's reaction to it. That is all I knew. Never even saw a trailer beforehand. So that is all I will say about plot. I watched the first half unveil itself with little idea of where it was going, as my conceptions were not tainted by preview spoilers.
2. It is a film to talk about afterwards. There are pieces that make sense at the end and some that don't. At least not initially. Pay attention.
3. Jake Gyllenhaal's character sets a new cinematic standard for number of blinks and twitches per minute.
4. Despite a long 2.5 hour run time, the pacing and unfolding of apparently tenuously connected events is suspenseful in a manner that is much more evocative of say...the intellectual dueling, character dynamics of Silence of the Lambs than the visceral, tautly-wound Taken.
5. The subject matter is very, very intense, and the tone is sometimes Fincher-like (think: Zodiac, or Eastwood's Changeling), but the violence itself is closer (mostly) to Hitchcock's allusions-to than much of today's "show everything in the closest, most graphic close-up possible." I appreciate that (the former).
6. It has left me thinking greatly about a filmmaker's responsibility to the audience in terms of setup and payoff. What do you owe your audience? How much of an explanation is necessary for every plot point? How do you keep viewers intelligently guessing, and make them feel their involvement in the story is sufficiently rewarded?
7. There is certainly a morality tale woven in; very different circumstances, but some of the same "what is right, what is wrong?" questions that are addressed so well in Gone Baby Gone.
8. Love people. But lock your doors and keep your children in sight.
9. Betcha it ends up on an Oscar ballot somewhere.