Three films that are worth seeing all deal with survival in environments and times that are most trying. It is in these instances, it seems, that we discover who we truly are and what we are willing to fight for.
Prisoners is the story of two young girls who are kidnapped and how their families crumble after the tragedy. Hugh Jackman is brilliant as one of the grief-stricken, tortured fathers. His physicality drives his performance to another level. Jake Gyllenhaal gives one of his best performances ever as the detective who is trying his best to solve what seems like an unsolvable crime. The film’s intensity leads to further discussion and reflection on what right and wrong means and how far are we willing to go in order to save those we love?
Gravity has been well-received by critics almost across the board. And it does not disappoint. Alfonso Cuaron, an incredibly talented director (Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban and Children of Men), directs a stunning, breath-taking piece of art that overtly illustrates how beautiful life is. Sandra Bullock delivers the most nuanced, dynamic performance of her career, full of vulnerability and strength. She plays Dr. Ryan Stone, a Mission Specialist, who finds herself in a life-or-death situation and must use all of her faculties in order to survive. The religious overtones are not subtle but the themes of loneliness, damage, and loss are so sincere that it is easy to overlook this. The score is haunting and the effects are nothing short of spectacular.
Captain Phillips seemed a little underwhelming if you were to judge it solely by its trailers. However, the trailers are to its detriment as it is a solid film and should not be counted out. Tom Hanks gives a strong performance, one that is finally fitting of his talent, unlike the ones he has been given in recent years (let’s all try to forget Larry Crowne and never speak of it again). Tom Hanks drives the film the way he commanded Cast Away, making it into an intense, thrilling story. He plays the title character whose ship is hijacked by Somali pirates (based on the 2009 true events). Look out for Barkhad Abdi, who takes a great turn as Muse, the leader of the pirates.
12 Years a Slave and Catching Fire reviews to come soon!