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Peter Howell’s “Justice Held Hostage” Is a Middling Recap

In response to Peter Howell’s 655‑word review of Prisoners on Toronto Star

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Peter Howell’s “Two young girls — and justice — held hostage: Prisoners review” can’t shake the bonds of mediocrity. The write-up never manages to cross the threshold of “so bad its good” or “so good it’s worth reading.” It holds its position right in the middle of the road.

Justice Held Hostage starts off rather odd as it dramatically recounts the story arcs in the film. The whole thing feels like a re-enactment of  a Civil War battle. It’s dramatic, and the guys look silly pretending to get shot with blanks, but it is somewhat entertaining. That is the only light in which Justice Held Hostage works.  

A major issue in this write-up is the sense that Howell goes into auto-pilot during the first half of the review, doing little more than to recap the plot. There doesn’t seem to be anyone at the wheel as spoiler after spoiler are crashed into. It will leave most scowling in disbelief, especially those with the intention of eventually seeing the film.

The presentation of the site is substandard for 2002, let alone 2013. You will find (or not find) words lost in the margins, and quite an odd assortment of ad space. The whole thing resembles a dilapidated staircase cascading into an impenetrable dark.

There are flickers of good  and bad in this otherwise mediocre review. There are genuine moments of joy where the writer brings to light key performances and technical aspects. There are just as many, if not more, moments of anguish. It isn’t  cheesy enough to elicit laughter. It isn’t substantial enough to recommend.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation