Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World, stated that “experience is not what happens to you; it’s what you do with what happens to you.” This quote lingered within my thoughts for the majority of the 2013 movie year because there is a remarkable number of films that confirm Huxley’s statement with shocking clarity. During 2013 the majority of characters in cinema experienced a relentless assault of either irrepressible physical violence or emotional turmoil, resulting in each character clinging to their lives, praying that they won’t become defeated. Characters had to either sink or swim. No film provided for them a middle ground that would grant them an easy way out or provide a buoy for them. Characters had to act, and act fast.
In Gravity, becoming disconnected from her partner in the infinite void of space, Dr. Stone had to gain composure quickly or endure an onslaught of debris and isolation. In The Place Beyond the Pines, a cop had to rely on his survival instincts and the ramifications of his decision reverberated throughout generations. In Blue is the Warmest Color, a confused teenage woman, utterly love-sick, discovers the throes and pangs of first love and is left even more confused after the indelible experience. In Dallas Buyers Club, an AIDs victim with a guaranteed death-sentence uses his situation to give hope to thousands of other AIDs victims. And in The Counselor, a man’s experience overwhelms him and he is soon exposed to the most unsavory circumstances that are beyond his control and the most heinous individuals.
Without further hesitance, the best 2013 had to offer.
Prisoners Director: Denis Villeneuve
Screenwriter: Aaron Guzikowski
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard, Melissa Leo, Paul Dano Warner Bros. Pictures
Rated R | 153 Minutes
Release Date: September 20, 2013
Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) and his wife Grace (Maria Bello) are facing every parent’s worst nightmare. Their 6-year-old daughter Anna (Erin Gerasimovich) is missing, along with her best friend Joy (Kyla Drew Simmons). Minutes turn to hours – panic sets in. The families pray for the best, but prepare for the worst.
After searching the surrounding woods, Dover’s son (Dylan Minnette) mentions he saw the girls playing near a creepy old RV that had been parked on their street. Heading the investigation, Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) arrests its driver, Alex Jones (Paul Dano), a peculiar young man with the IQ of a 10-year-old.
Due to a lack of evidence, Jones is released. A frantic Dover decides he has no choice but to take the law into his own hands. As Loki pursues other leads, Dover tracks down Jones and holds him captive. He brutalizes the seemingly innocent man in hopes of getting a confession – in hopes of finding the little girls – but Jones remains silent. The further Dover goes, the closer he comes to losing his own humanity.
There’s a spec script out there by screenwriter Aaron Guzikowski entitled Prisoners, and it seems to be getting some top-notch attention. The Endeavor-represented script already has Mark Wahlberg attached to it as well as word from Bryan Singer that he would like to direct the project. Now comes word that Christian Bale is also attaching himself to the project, and eyes begin looking.
Unfortunately, all of this is a pretty shaky foundation. While the talent is interested, no one is officially signed on yet. The plan for Endeavor is to get these gentlemen to declare their desire to be involved and then shop the script with the potential names attached as eye candy. With names like that saying they want in, I can’t imagine it will take long to sell and get thrown on the fast track to ensure no scheduling conflicts remove anyone, but you never know these days.