Movie: Prisoners
What it’s up for: Cinematography

It’s Thanksgiving and two families are having dinner together. Their two young girls go out to get something from the other house without their older siblings and suddenly disappear. What follows is a somewhat chaotic but visually beautiful portrayal of the attempts to find them.

The plot of the movie is sound with lots of moments that keep you interested and keep you guessing. I was hooked from beginning to end. Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal play the central characters of father and cop, respectively. Gyllenhaal in particular played a well-imagined deadly-serious detective with a perfect record. He made you feel like there was more to his story than what was being told on-screen. (Unfortunately, any back story he has is just left to the imagination.)

The cinematography is just plain gorgeous. The lighting, camera angles, use of filters…everything was just wonderfully crafted from the first minute of the film. I would hate to see it lose to Gravity simply because it’s a great example of classically good cinematography.

I don’t have much else to say. The cinematography definitely was the crowning glory. The movie holds its own, for sure, but there was a lot of opportunity for more plot clarity and character development that they should have taken advantage of. The writing and editing were the weakest elements of the film, in my opinion. The cinematography actually helped push the story along more than the actual dialogue in certain parts. It was not a waste of time, but it wasn’t above average.

Can’t say just yet, since I’ve only seen two films in the category.