'Prisoners' writer Aaron Guzikowski: Revenge is 'like a river'

An old saw advises, "Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves." That underlying notion — that the act of vengeance afflicts both the agent and the target — permeates the recent psychological thriller "Prisoners," which stars Hugh Jackman as father who will stop at nothing to save his kidnapped daughter and Jake Gyllenhaal as a detective determined to do things by the book.

At a recent installment of the Envelope Screening Series, Gyllenhaal, costar Melissa Leo and screenwriter Aaron Guzikowski discussed the film's exploration of cycles of revenge.

Gyllenhaal recalled, "Denis [Villeneuve, director of the film] always says, and he said this from the beginning, one of his big things is that revenge just begets more revenge. That was the idea that he wanted to perpetuate with the story."

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Leo added, "I do think that that is a really beautiful quality that the film has, is that tale of violence begetting violence begetting violence."

And Guzikowski said that he wanted to examine how "the person who perpetuates violence, it's almost like unleashing a plague, and everyone sort of catches it throughout the film. It's like a river with a strong current: You can wade out a little bit but before long it just kind of takes you away and there's no turning back."

For more from the cast and crew of "Prisoners" — including  a digression about Gyllenhaal and Leo's time together on the set of "Homicide: Life on the Street" — watch the full video above, and check back for daily highlights.


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