Trailer or Spoiler? First Look at Prisoners

Prisoners, poster, Hugh Jackman, kinopoisk

poster via

Hugh Jackman stars in Incendies director Denis Villanueve‘s new film, Prisoners, due out later this fall. It’s been a long time coming too.  Originally Mark Wahlberg was to star under the direction of Bryan Singer. Jackman was first attached with Olympus Has Fallen‘s Antoine Fuqua directing, but both left the project. Leonardo DiCaprio was attached, but he eventually dropped out as well. After several years in development hell, Jackman returned. Ever since filming finally began in January of this year, I’ve been hearing good things. There are already whispers in the wind of “awards worthy” with reference to Jackman’s performance.

Also starring Terrence Howard, Maria Bello (in a role that was originally rumored for Jessica Chastain), Viola Davis, Melissa Leo and Paul Dano, Prisoners casts Jackman as a blue-collar Boston father (despite the fact that it was filmed in Georgia. Pffft) on the trail of the man he believes responsible for kidnapping his young daughter and her friend.Jake Gyllenhaal plays the detective assigned to the case.

Ultimately, the film seeks to ask, to what lengths would an ordinary person be prepared to go for their children?

The first trailer has just landed on line and while I was anxious to get first look, after watching it, I think we can all guess the answer. I have to wonder what’s left to discover and why should I buy a ticket? Take a look:

YouTube video via JoBlo Movie Network

Is it me or does this give way too much away? We get the setup, then we’re told what the crime is. We see how tied the hands of the criminal justice system are and we watch as Hugh Jackman starts to go all vigilante. We see Paul Dano, who may or may not be the kidnapper bound and gagged in Jackman’s bathroom, we see his mother defend him, then we see the beginning of a confrontation with whoever will more than likely turn out to be the actual kidnapper. Wam Bam, two minutes and thirty seconds and we’ve seen the whole thing.

It has been argued that there are but a handful of basic plots. I’ve continually espoused the tenet that there is nothing new under the sun and it’s all in the delivery, but there’s nothing in this trailer that tells me I’m going to see anything new, other than this time it’s Hugh Jackman’s turn to go all Charles Bronson.

Am I just jaded? Should I be giving Villanueve, here making his English-language debut, the benefit of the doubt? (side bar: Villanueve has two movies coming out this year, and if their current release dates hold, within eight days of each other and both starring Jake Gyllenhaal.) It seems to me that with a cast this good, Warner Brothers shouldn’t need to show us all of their cards to stir up interest.  This is just supposed to be a first tease for a movie that doesn’t open until September. How much more are we going to see between now and then? Is it possible there is a helluva twist that we can’t see coming? JMHO, but when a trailer gives so much away all at once, it signals a lack of confidence in the finished product. I predict a LOT of advance screenings in a lot of cities.

There is a fine line to be walked between generating interest in the product and just plain giving too much away too soon. Internet-connected fans are more movie savvy than any generation before them and while they are ravenous for news and “inside” intel, their affections are fickle. I’ve talked quite a bit recently about how social media is changing the face of movie marketing, but there have been quite a few examples of blitzkrieg-like campaigns that started out looking like marketing genius, only to have the masses revolt when the hype is not to be believed. Prometheus anyone? How about the recent resurrection of “Arrested Development”?

What do you think? Does this trailer for Prisoners fill you with anticipation? Are you anxious to see the movie or has this trailer spoiled the whole thing for you?


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