Review: Prisoner’s Daughter

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Title: Prisoner’s Daughter
MPA Rating: R
Director: Catherine Hardwicke
Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Brian Cox, Tyson Ritter
Runtime: 1 hr 40 mins

What It Is: A terminally ill prisoner gets to spend his final few weeks under house arrest with his estranged daughter and her 12-year-old son.

What We Think: A fairly tight drama. If there’s one thing this film does incredibly well, its the father-daughter relationship between Brian Cox’s Max and Kate Beckinsale’s Maxine (the similarities between the two names isn’t lost on me). This is the first piece of media I’ve seen Brian Cox in (it’s hard not to mention the recent explosion of accolades he’s received for Succession) and his performance is great – it always feels like there’s something underneath Max’s eyes, years of feelings he might have forgotten or held back coming forward as he reunites with his daughter. Beckinsale matches him well and they share some fantastic scenes together (one of which is the clip above) – as for the supporting cast, they’re all fine (a few scenes here and there where some marks were missed, but still fine).

Writing-wise, there are certainly ups and downs. Tense moments of dramatic conflict are present, but also odd-sounding dialogue choices for characters that wouldn’t normally say certain words. Of course, there’s a viewer’s perception here that can pertain to how the script is relayed through these characters, but for the most part I found an equal balance of intensity and instability. The photography and music aren’t groundbreaking, but rather adequate for this type of story – I found myself attracted to the film’s shot choices and music cues. The struggle isn’t within the camerawork – its in the script (albeit not long).

Our Grade: B-; If you’re looking for a gritty drama, this recent release can definitely satisfy. The lead performances are a standout factor of Prisoner’s Daughter – once you become invested with their interactions, nothing else is really needed.

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