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Ken Hanke Wants Everything Explained to Him in “Prisoners”

In response to Ken Hanke’s 607‑word review of Prisoners on Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

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Ken Hanke’s latest work, “Prisoners,” is about something but the reader may be curious as to what that is. The critic is quite clear with his distaste in regard to the film’s attempt to “be about something,” however fails to provide a complete analysis to make his work memorable.

Hanke’s Prisoners seems misguided, and Hanke comes across as a disgruntled viewer who needs everything explained. The complete absence of cinematographer Roger Deakins is troubling, and the critic only mentions director Denis Villenueve once by name. Hanke seems to focus only on plot devices, and refuses to offer a full picture as to what the film is all about.

Hanke can rant and rave about his displeasure with the plot devices in Prisoners, but it will mean little to the reader if they are unfamiliar with the cast. The critic says nothing about the lead actors, which is problematic because a healthy dose of character analysis would have greatly improved his argument. Instead, Hanke resorts to snark about Oscar season, and dismisses the performances as nothing more than awards bait.

All of that is fine, but to completely ignore the two leads is disappointing. The critic seems to be thrown off by Gyllenhaal’s eye twitch, which isn’t explained, and thus refuses to offer any type of insight on the character. The same goes for Jackman.

Hanke’s Prisoners closes out with a weak paragraph, and one will be ready to move on from the experience.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation