User Score
8.2

Universal acclaim- based on 501 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 20 out of 501

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  1. Sep 21, 2013
    1
    I absolutely hated this movie.
    Judging by the critic reviews, it only got a high score from them because it's pretty and the style is interesting, I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that all the user scores are so high.

    I will admit that it's a visually pleasing movie, but not only does the mediocre plot drag on forever, it also relies on cheap tricks (like the plot
    "twist" near the end) and doesn't fill the expectations built up in the trailer (the truth behind the story was completely unbelievable)

    And even though most people seem to think the characters are well thought through, all I saw was tropes. Hugh Jackman's character is the ruthless badass who'd do anything to protect his child, his wife is a stereotypical mother, doing nothing but crying for her lost child.
    Detective Loki is the excellent detective with no social life, and the villains are your cookie cutter Hollywood serial killers.
    Joy's parents seemed to be the only characters who weren't one dimensional, yet they had some of the least screen time.

    One could argue that it's more about the message than the story itself, but an interesting message doesn't make up for a drab plot and poor character design.
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  2. Sep 20, 2013
    10
    Prisoners is a deep dark film, with a first rate cinematography, breathtaking performances, riveting editing, incredible dialog, and pretty much one of the best movies of all year. What makes this movie distinctive, is the opening silent sequence, the atmosphere its self, it is chilling and a gripping thriller, it is a tense talk film that kept me at the edge of my seat. It is maybe the best performance ever coming from Hugh Jackman, he is magnificent in this movie, the villains and the good ones, everyone in this movie has something wrong with them, and this is one of the things that I loved in this film. Prisoners is one of the best movies all year and highly recommended, I loved Prisoners. Expand
  3. Sep 22, 2013
    3
    ...Terrible...First off, this was produced by Mark Wahlberg so you would think it would be, at the very least, mildly badass. Plus it has Hugh Jackman, Jake Gillyhall, the Black Guy from Ironman, and the kid from There Will Be Blood plays an assburger.
    That aside, the movie starts off like any other kidnap movie. Happy family, parents not paying attention, rapist scoops up the goods.
    Pretty standard. The suspect gets off clean, the police dont even contemplate anyone else as a possibility and Hugh Jackman takes justice into his own hands. Which sounds exciting right? Wrong. The plot proceeds to drag on for 2 and a half hours of blatantly cut and dry detective work, some moralistic struggles with Jackman and the mom giving Wolverine crap for not protecting them better. Which pisses me off cuz at least HE didnt spend the first week after their kid got snatched up drowning his sorrows in Zoloft and Puffs Plus Tissues. All that aside, this team of Oscar Award winners couldn't make up for the horrendous plot. Kinda makes me wonder if Jackman actually read the script or if that ability was taken with his kid. In the end, all I could feel was that the real Prisoners in this story was the audience themselves. Expand
  4. Sep 20, 2013
    9
    Prisoners is a violent and disturbing look at the blurry lines between good and bad people couched in an engaging (and unsettling) kidnapper subplot. Villeneuve’s film should have no trouble pleasing moviegoers who are up for a dark and insightful exploration of human behavior setoff by one of our culture’s most detestable criminal actions. Action fans are better off sticking with the Taken series, but thriller and drama enthusiasts should find plenty of powerful performances and rich story material to make Prisoners an exhilarating and penetrating theater experience. Expand
  5. Sep 23, 2013
    3
    This is classic case of STYLE over SUBSTANCE! It is beautifully shot, the music is spot on... it's moody and pulls you IN. It is very visually engaging. The story and plot have more holes in them then a golf course!! The torture scenario is just ridiculous, no one would go along with this... nor take it this far.
    Also, the audience is deliberately mislead throughout, to engage viewers,
    so they're scratching their heads, but when it all starts to unfold... it's just an unbelievable mess. I WAS engaged during the movie... it was the ending and then all the thought in hind-sight that made me hate this more and more. I feel like I was held 'prisoner' tricked into waiting for something that didn't pan out. It's a RENTAL folks. You'll enjoy it a lot more at home when you're not paying or expecting something truly worthwhile. Expand
  6. Sep 24, 2013
    9
    Fantastic film, and Jake is its heart and soul. The trailer makes it look much more dour and depressing than it actually is. It's a true thriller, and I'm excited to see it again.
  7. Sep 20, 2013
    10
    Prisoners is a riveting, potent abduction thriller with an ominous demeanor and intelligent direction that makes its dark subject matter uneasy, yet enticing to watch. The performances are also gripping and exciting, especially Hugh Jackman who gives a performance for the ages, one of memorable and award winning caliber.
  8. Sep 22, 2013
    5
    I wanted to like this movie much more than I did the actors do a fine job and the direction has its merit. Problem is that it's such a heavy-handed allegory about a post-9/11 America grappling with the ethics of revenge vs. justice, a holy war, and use/effects of "rendition"/torture against innocents and perhaps not-so-innocents. That some audience members laughed at some of the moments that were meant to be terrifying convinced me either the public has developed a callous jadedness towards these very important issues or the film is clumsy in how it tackles them. This wasn't a "bad" film, just one that could've used fewer nonsensical twists-and-turns that too nicely allow an allegorical frame for what at its heart is about the terrifying idea of how innocence can be lost to random evil. Expand
  9. Oct 5, 2013
    7
    Good solid movie, a bit long and unbelievable (but aren't all movies?). Just wished the ending had been a bit more satisfying IMHO it "cut off" a bit too early. Another good movie very similar to this (without as many characters) is CHAINED directed by David Lynch's daughter. It was more believable and more gut wrenching.
  10. Sep 22, 2013
    5
    'Prisoners' is a very moody film, beautifully shot, acted and suspenseful. HOWEVER, unlike the movies to which it's been compared to by some (Mystic River, Silence of Lambs, Zodiac), Prisoners also borderlines on the 'ridiculous.' There are a lot of 'holes' in the story/plot that ultimately disappoint. In terms of story I would say that this film is more like a hybrid of: "The Lovely Bones" "Mystic River" and "Extremities"
    (which starred Farah Fawcet). Overall, it's a worthwhile film for the performances and cinematography. The movie could have been great had it been edited down and fleshed out a bit more.
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  11. Sep 27, 2013
    4
    Good movie, good plot. I would have given this movie a 9/10 if it wasn't for the fact that 90 seconds [the last 90 seconds] ruined the whole movie. What were the producers thinking????? They had a slam dunk kick ass movie if the ending did'nt suck, and it sucked bad, bad enough to ruin the entire movie. Please dont waste you money, but if you do, dont say I didnt tell you that you will leave the movie theater discussed and angry. I feel like I was robbed and that is not a good feeling. At best, only because of the ending, this movie should not get a higher rating then a 6/10. Expand
  12. Dec 9, 2013
    6
    Shot skillfully which helps add to the tension of this otherwise extremely overlong bore. The movie tries to establish too many themes with too many tangents and it adds nothing. Was the ending worth the wait, no...but I was still curious to know what happened.
  13. Sep 20, 2013
    9
    Hugh Jackman cements his position as one of top A list actors with his riveting performance in “Prisoners”. The opening scene is him teaching his son to shoot a deer and tells him “Be ready”. Keller Dover (Jackman) first appears to be a survivalist with a basement filled with shelves as part of being ready. He seems to a Right wing Conservative who has been a recovering alcoholic for nine and a half years, praying on and off but little by little your first impression changes. He and his wife, Grace, (Maria Bello) with their 6 year old daughter Anna (Erin Gerasimovich) and son Ralph (Dylan Minnette) are having Thanksgiving dinner with Franklin (Terrence Howard) and Nancy (Viola Davis) Birch their 7 year old daughter Joy (Kyla Drew Simmons) and Eliza Birch (Zoe Borde). After dinner their two young daughters go outside only to disappear.

    The first, and obvious, suspect is a mentally impaired man Alex (Paul Dano), who lives with his Aunt Holly Jones (Melissa Leo). The girls are seen playing and starting to climb his RV earlier.He lives, sleeping on a sofa bed, in his aunt’s home, her husband having left 5 years earlier. Loki, (Jake Gyllenhaal) the detective in charge of the case, who has solved every case he has been in charge of, is first seen eating his Thanksgiving dinner alone in a diner and next arresting and questioning Alex. He has to let him go as their is no evidence he is involved.

    Keller believes Alex is guilty and wants to know where he has taken the girls and threatens to torture him until he confesses. He takes Alex off to a house in complete disrepair that he use to own and ties him up in a small room. He brings Franklin in with him who is repulsed by the whole idea but wants his child back. Needless to say both families are affected by the kidnapping and possible death of their children.

    “Prisoners” is rated R for violence and there are a couple of scenes some will hide their eyes from watching it plus the “F” word seems to be a major part of Loki’s speech. There are a couple of unnecessary red herrings that makes the movie run 2 hours and 20 minute, a bit too long, but the director Denis Villeneuve, along with screenwriter Aaron Guzikowski, keeps the tension and suspense going with a somewhat ambiguous ending. Don’t let the violence deter from seeing the “Prisoners”.

    The cast is first rate but it is Hugh Jackman’s picture and he takes it to the depths that very few actors could.
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  14. Sep 20, 2013
    9
    Prisoners is a dark and dreary, but fantastic thriller. The acting is superb and the script has many captivating twists and turns. It could be a tad shorter, but overall one of the best films of 2013. A
  15. Sep 21, 2013
    10
    Wow! Just Wow! "Prisoners" is a dark and grimacing movie. It doesn't really show how Keller (Hugh Jackman) really wants his daughter back so to say, it shows even more grimace and more depth in the horror of what is one to do. Hugh Jackman is the heart of this story. He brings on the true grit of his character which was fantastic. I think he should get another Oscar nod. Plus it has great cinematography and a fantastic script to work off of. Overall, it's truly one of the best movies of the year/If not, the best movie of the year. Be sure to check out my YouTube channel "TheMovieManLife" for all things movies. Expand
  16. Feb 14, 2014
    0
    This movie rating is too high .i'm tries too make it appropriate by give this score.
    i felt really disappointed because the plot of it much weaker than most of each TV series like Sherlock , Blacklist , mentalist , criminal mind.
    but i'm accepted only for the good performance of artiste.
    in my opinion this movie doesn't deserve good score because story is too bad, too common.

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Spoiler alert!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    especially the last scene is unacceptable it's too stupid Hugh Jackman die for nothing
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  17. Sep 23, 2013
    8
    It's a long movie but an engrossing one. The first half of the movie seems to be a metaphor for Guantanamo. Impotent rage leads to torture and possibly justice but definitely injustice. And at what cost? Scattered clues lead, if read correctly, to the inevitable truth about the kidnapping of the girls, but leave open to interpretation the moral paths taken and the outcome of a major protagonist. The audience is manipulated hither, thither, and yon, and it's all great fun if you stay objective and quite teeth grinding if you don't. The Director borrows heavily from many sources-these days who doesn't, and who can't-and it's quite a Pot Pourri of memory lane goodies. The last shot seems to be leaving us with an open ended question: "You decide!"
    Jackman is great as a very loose cannon (Wolverine was a warmup?). Gyllenhall is all ticks and props and gimmicks. Dano is paid well for a mute, and Maria Bello is oh so wasted.

    Of course.................SPOILER................. there is one actor who is in this for an oh so obvious reason.
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  18. Dec 16, 2013
    7
    The lengthy run time (2 and a half hours) pushes it but as a whole, Prisoners was a pretty enjoyable film that was rather entertaining to watch. I'd recommend it.
  19. Sep 29, 2013
    10
    This movie was amazing, the acting was top notch,the story was really goood with a few twists in it. It has an equal balance of mystery and action to keep youu watching.
  20. Nov 19, 2013
    9
    From the moment the movie starts to the very last scene, Prisoner's is a gripping, involving, dark film that gives you strong performances to make it feel very scary. Your eyes will be glued to the screen in this mesmerizing thriller.
  21. Sep 24, 2013
    5
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Prisoners does not take long to start off the story, probably less than 10 minutes in, and it prolongs the story which makes a nice effect on the audience. It creates the feeling that the girls have been gone for so long, and toward the end of the film, since its so long, the audience will have lost hope. The story itself is a puzzle, and the audience almost has to put together the pieces, but in the end it does not really connect all the pieces together but rather gets lazy about it and just comes up with some random excuse as to how the kids got stolen. It has a cliff hanger ending which I hate in films, like we've been committed the past 2 and a half hours for this? Also the character development... through the film we understand the 2 main leads pretty well, Keller Dover (Jackman) and Officer Loki (Jake (his first name is easier to spell)) but we don't know who they are, you know what I mean? We get no look at Loki's personal life, or why he is driven so hard to find these girls. We get a glimpse in the first several minutes of the film of Jackman's character, a hunter, a strict parent, an ambitious worker. But so much is unexplained... It is one of those films where while watching it you are on the edge of your seat, not necessarily because of the story but because each individual scene's artistic merit creates suspense, but after the film you walk away feeling like you got absolutely nothing out of that movie. Expand
  22. Sep 29, 2013
    8
    Overall the movie is suspenseful and well-acted. The plot has some holes, but so what? Entertaining, albeit a tad predictable. Hugh Jackman is very believable in his role.
  23. Sep 22, 2013
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I found Prisoners to be an engrossing and tense movie of the darker nature that breaks boundaries involving what otherwise decent people might do in extremely emotional situations. The performances are good and I recommend the movie however (spoiler alert!!) I thought there were two substantial red herrings which purposely distract you away from the real truth about the perpetrators and their motives which is somewhat incredulous (this is being done to turn people away from God).
    The first involves Alex who because of what he initially does when confronted by police which is unexplained (and why is he driving a RV in the first place)? Then, because of what he says and sings, the viewer is led to suspect him as does the parent who tortures him for the truth that he suspects Alex knows.
    The second character thought to be involved is some type of exceptional copy cat who does all that he can to make himself suspicious and yet is not really involved. There is a lot of confusion about what he knows combined with mazes/maps that actually have no connection to the movie as a whole. I missed the connection between his maze diagram and a medallion worn by one of the perpetrators but the coincidence is strikingly present and yet not connected to the true nature of the actual crime at all.
    So, although I liked the movie, I felt I was purposely distracted and misled in two separate methods that made me suspect the wrong individuals, much as the parent and the detective did, while in the end these two story threads turned out to be unrelated to the actual crime in any way. It's like the movie purposely fooled around with me so that I couldn't make conclusions as I watched it. But, that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy the viewing.
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  24. Nov 12, 2013
    10
    Prisoners review

    Dat script, dat acting, dat directing

    As you saw in my title the script in this movie takes the main spotlight. The twists and turns, the dialogues and the right 'till the end top level suspense. All of those aspects are majorly improved by the amazing man sitting in the directors chair and the talented men acting it out in front of the camera. Especially the one and
    only Hugh Jackman who steals every single scene he is in. That doesn't by far mean the other actors aren't that good. Gyllenhaal and Terrence Howard both portray two desperate men perfectly.
    Now to the plot which puts you in this awful situation on which two girls get abducted. A detective (Gyllenhaal) is put in charge of the case while the father of one of the girls (Jackman) takes some extreme measures. I won't go further than that to not spoil you of anything awesome (which by the way tends to be the whole movie).
    Directing-wise this movie is just out there in space. By I literally don't remember looking away or blinking. I just sat there at the edge of my seat biting my fingers!
    The composition of the opening shot just gave me the chills. A still shot of some creepy snowy woods with a dear walking by, while Jackman spells out "The holy father" is beautifully unsettling.
    A lot of the shots are still shots. They don't shy away of lingering the shots. Props to that dude named Denis Villeneuve.
    I'll throw it out there that this movie made me cringe. It is disturbing ****
    The last thing I wanna point out is the ending. It has you on your knees by being a very quiet but intense scene full of some sweet sweet shots.
    In the end this movie tackled all of the aspects that make a thriller great and it will definitely get itself some of those Oscar noms!
    10 out of 10 baby!
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  25. Sep 23, 2013
    9
    Absolutely outstanding thriller with breathtaking atmosphere! Magnificent performance from Hugh Jackman and others, interesting scenario with some minor flaws, great characters. Conclusion one of the best picture of 2013!
  26. Oct 1, 2013
    9
    You don't have to be a parent to experience the fright that comes from watching the new film Prisoners. On my usual strut out of the theater I am asked how I liked the movie, and I give my usual answer "eh, pretty good" until my review gets posted and that person sees what I really thought. With Prisoners, I came out of the theater a little shaken, and as most people probably did, made sure everything was alright every time they heard a noise in their house that night.
    The film stars Hugh Jackman as Keller Dover, but the true star is Detective Loki, played by Jake Gyllenhaal. Prisoners is the story of Hugh Jackman's family, and Terrence Howard's family, having a fun thanksgiving dinner. The parents stupidly agree and let their children play outside, and that’s where we get the title Prisoners. The trailer is a little deceptive on how this scene plays out but ultimately ends up with the same idea that the kids were kidnapped by someone in an RV.
    They find that Alex Jones (Paul Dano) was the driver, and that he basically has the IQ of a ten year old who speaks in this really high pitched mutter. As stupid as they think he is, he manages to quietly drop hints to Jackman that he has his child. Loki, a young detective, is assigned to the case and works mainly with Jackman to uncover what happened.
    The movie takes some serious turns that make you share the emotions of the characters. Some of the minor cast members instantly become huge, and new characters are introduced on screen and join the flow of the movie easily. This single film had the best acting so far in 2013 with a very strong cast. Hugh was the parent that is willing to do anything for their child, which for a lot of parents was very relatable to. It's funny though because if he cared so much about his daughter, than he wouldn't have let her essentially run around unattended, in a creepy neighborhood in the first place.
    Despite the almost two and a half hour duration, I was almost off my seat on the floor the entire time waiting to hear the dialogue from every character. I cringed many times during the disturbing scenes (there were many), and they even managed to add in a couple jump scares. This is definitely not a movie to expect to half watch and whisper with friends in; because you will miss way too many details that you realize tie in later.
    Even after thinking deeply about Prisoners, I was left with too many plot holes, which led to a lot of unanswered questions, especially with the ending. It felt a little bit like Director Denis Villeneuve thought that it wasn't worth adding even more time to the film length to fill in some details, but it might have made the movie worth its longer time.
    Though most of the events in the film will probably not happen when you think about it, you are convinced during the film. There would be an unrealistic scene followed by a disturbing one, and you would be more focused on the suspense and disturbance, then the actual facts.
    Despite the negatives, Prisoners will entertain you whether it's through the edge of your seat thrill, or the relation to your own family. The film has already won two awards and has only been out nine days, and I won't be surprised to see it earn many more in the future.
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  27. Sep 22, 2013
    9
    Prisoners is one of those movies that keeps your eyes glued to the screen throughout the whole thing, and when the movie ends, you want more. Hugh Jackman's performance is Oscar-Worthy and Jake Gyllanhaal is amazing, too. With a thought-provoking story in hand, the movie finds ways to use suspense and a great score to back it up. The movie could've been edited a little bit, but other than that, this was a riveting drama that has a complex story at its core, and is extremely hard to forget, and is one of the best movies of 2013. Bravo. Expand
  28. Oct 2, 2013
    8
    Prisoners is a dark emotionally heavy two & half hour movie. The acting performances by Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhall are really well done. Its like Hugh Jackman is really going for an Oscar here. It was a bit on the long side and I thought a few parts of it could have been taken out without affecting the story. You really see a family suffer here and a wild journey to show what lengths a parent will go to, to find their child. Expand
  29. Sep 26, 2013
    8
    The film was riveting for the first 2 hours with a few lapses in basic police work, but then it got silly! Here comes a spoiler A father who was willing to give up everything to get his daughter back would never have caved in so easily at the end. That annoyed me to no end, but the performances by Jackman and Gyllenhaal were superb and the film is well worth seeing but don't bring anyone squeamish! Expand
  30. Oct 7, 2013
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I absolutely LOVED this movie! It's full of suspense, and that ending! Wow! 10 of 10 for SURE!! I'd watch this movie again in a HEARTBEAT! Only thing i didn't like about it were the torture scene. Expand
  31. Oct 20, 2013
    10
    I give this film a '10' score, as I was completely captivated from the first frame to the last. However, it is not a film I could recommend easily to others. It is brutal and violent, and certain scenes are very hard to endure. This is how it was meant to play out, though, and all credit is due to its director, Denis Villeneuve, and its cast, headlined by Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhall. But to me, the most shuddering aspect of this story must be credited to the great cinematographer Roger Deakins, whose camera absolutely made prisoners of the audience in depicting the cold, the gloom, the rain & snow, and the hopelessness of the Pennsylvania landscape in winter. (All the more impressive as the movie was actually filmed in Georgia.) Expand
  32. Oct 21, 2013
    10
    This movie had a crazy plot that ended up unwinding crazily like Training Day. The whole experience was pretty much just like a nuts banana. I saw it with my grandma and she actually her pants. Awesome movie.
  33. Oct 29, 2013
    8
    Brilliantly acted, written, directed. I think its one of the best thrillers in years. It does drag at times but its still very gripping, and very tense.
  34. Nov 17, 2013
    3
    I was first intrigued to see it by the trailer and it really did seem like a great thriller. With Jackman, Gyllenhaal, Leo, and Davis in the cast, I think it was right of me to expect a first class motion pictures. But to my surprise, the movie sucks.

    the first one hour runs smoothly. I love how they get into the real problem (kidnapping) so quickly into the opening and how it slowly
    starts tearing the two families apart. Right at the moment it starts dealing with past unsolved kidnapping cases that Det. Loki thinks are related to the current case, it all drops dead to the point that I feel like I'm being held hostage to stay in the theater with a gun to my head just to see the movie ends.

    The "maze" plot is totally unsolved and it was really a huge let-down for me. Then comes the snakes in the boxes. While it was pretty scary and intense (despite the poor VFX), it was also left unsolved. WTF was that? And finally, the ending did not payoff the two and a half hours spent at all!! Seriously, even killing Jackman's character is much better than leaving it hanging on like that.

    At last, despite my man-crush on Gyllenhaal and genuine love for Leo, I wouldn't want to see the movie for another run even if it was for free.
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  35. Dec 14, 2013
    10
    Prisoners hold your attention and make you feel anxious all the time and even in the end it makes you still thinking about it, the story is also memorable and very hard to forget, Hugh Jackman comes with a amazing performance, it's one of the better movies of the year.
  36. Dec 12, 2013
    8
    risoners is an unforgettable, complex film that is beautifully shot and emotionally resonant even if it suffers from poor pacing and some unnecessary plot points.
  37. Dec 9, 2013
    9
    absolutely massive film the movie gave the emotion of losing a part of life and aside of gave the emotion of founding them there was very violence in the middle.an extra ordinary thinking motion gave in last part of the movie.it was anxious.
  38. Dec 13, 2013
    5
    Good cast not such a good movie though
    Think the trailer over hyped it for me too much
    So a 5/10 is suitable nothing special going on
    Watch it if you have nothing else to watch that is the category you put this movie in
    Hope I ain't being too harsh hehe
  39. BKM
    Oct 23, 2013
    8
    Despite trailers that made it appear to be a standard revenge film along the lines of Taken or any number of Harrison Ford flicks, Prisoners actually has a lot more in common with Mystic River. That is to say that it is a dark, morally complex thriller about men whose need to protect their families leads them to dark places. I'm not sure that all of the plot twists add up, but the film is completely absorbing and delivers an ending that is poetic justice at its finest. Expand
  40. Sep 28, 2013
    7
    Overall I liked Prisoners. I will admit I was not that engaged for a good chunk of the movie. The movie had me at some parts but lost me a good chunk of the time but towards the end the film got going and I finally got the thriller I wanted to see. I just wish I had gotten there sooner. If you want to see this movie keep in mind it takes forever to get going, it has some gore, and that there is no guarantee you will be satisfied with the ending that you had to sit through almost two hours of nothingness to get to. While the film could have been shortened this film had enough engaging scenes, especially at the end, to make glad I saw it. While the film can be slow and dull at times, the third act of the film makes it worth the wait as some really interesting/horrifying/shocking stuff happens making it worth a look. Expand
  41. Sep 30, 2013
    8
    Denis Villeneuve has a keen eye for the dynamics of every day life he perfectly captures the lives of the families who are hit by this tragedy. In a matter of the first minutes of the film, we quickly realize who these people are. Their grief stricken despair is the more real, since the film never goes for a sensationalistic approach. There's a certain hint of Dennis Lehane's novels in the screenplay, but the characters are deftly presented, and the suspense is built progressively. The atmosphere that is built is certainly oppressive and bleak, but the film is elevated by the fantastic cast: Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Melissa Leo and Paul Dano, all deliver more than impeccable performances. A great film worth watching. Expand
  42. Jan 10, 2014
    9
    Faced with every parent’s worst nightmare, is it ever justifiable to take matters into one's own hands? This very accomplished thriller definitely asks the question. The whole cast is amazing but the director needs to take a lot of credit for stitching together the parallels of their approach to the same incident through the remarkable dramatic performance of Hugh Jackman as a father in distress which is equaled by the quietly assured one of Jake Gylenhall of the investigator in charge of the case. Expand
  43. Sep 24, 2013
    7
    It happens on a happy Thanksgiving: Two families who have gathered to celebrate discover their daughters have disappeared. While there's a cop on the case (Jake Gyllenhaal), one of the fathers (Hugh Jackman) decides to take matters into his own hands (with some unpleasant results). This isn't really a revenge flick, as much as an often intense crime drama. The cast is uniformly excellent and much of the movie is compelling, but the 2 1/2-hour length could have used some cutting. Much of the middle simply drags on. That being said, it's a complex story that's effectively told. Expand
  44. Oct 7, 2013
    8
    Although I felt somewhat manipulated while watching, Prisoners was admittedly mesmerizing. When the film ends you might be scratching your head and asking what certain people or events had to do with the plot. I know I have several unanswered questions. Still, this film was about 2 1/2 hours and I never looked at my watch. I thought the acting was superb across the board, and the pacing excellent. Good film to watch during Halloween time because it is creepy for sure. Expand
  45. Dec 21, 2013
    7
    Good acting, good atmosphere, but overall a pretty contrived film loaded with loads of cliches, like text book looking nonces, macho cops who hardly say a word, and your predictable whodunnit style plot twists. I like the 90's TV drama feel of the film and there is something nostalgic about it, but I think our expectations have been lowered by all the crap coming our way these days, hence this films great reviews. Expand
  46. Dec 17, 2013
    3
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I am watching this movie now. (spoiler coming) But what I see is a sadist using the disappearance of his child to torture another human being --and two weak characters, the underused, underwritten, undeveloped, almost forgotten parents of the other child. Oh, and an essentially passive detective. Expand
  47. Dec 18, 2013
    10
    Maybe this movie is one of the best I've seen in m life, which makes it honor his name in Spanish "La Intriga", it was just a roller coaster of a dark feeling, performing hypothesis than ever I was right and that I love and for my eyes makes an excellent movie.
    Jackman and Gyllenhaal were fantastic.!
  48. Dec 18, 2013
    5
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Not bad, but if you are older and know a lot of movies, you notice when they steal scenes from other, previous movies that nobody seems to remember. The ending, well, didn't Rose do the same thing in Titanic The stuff he had to drink to drug himself, only to be buried then The Vanishing...
    Anyway, good entertainment, a bit too long maybe...
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  49. Feb 7, 2014
    9
    Deep, dark, and disturbing. "Prisoners" provides a complex and excellently written plot with characters that feel human. It's also takes a look at how far a parent will go to protect their child. All of this is backed by an excellent cast who all give amazing performances. It's the type of film that gives us a look at the morally gray side of humanity. It's not for those who shy away from violence, but I recommend it to those who are looking for thriller that will keep them on the edge of their seats. Truly an outstanding movie. Expand
  50. Sep 30, 2013
    4
    Hugh Jackman. Nominated for Oscar. Jake Gyllenhaal. Nominated for Oscar. Viola Davis. Nominated for 2 Oscars. Terrence Howard. Nominated for Oscar. Melissa Leo. Won Oscar. Maria Bello. Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Cinematography. Roger Deakins Nominated for 10 Oscars This list of Oscar nominees who acted and worked in this movie is not full. Take a number of excellent and famous actors, the best cinematographer and a mediocre script. The result will be a strange mix. A beautiful picture with decent performance and plenty of suspense. But, as they say, a spoonful of tar spoils a barrel of honey. The script has so many impossible, improbable holes in it.
    If it were a movie like "Die Hard" or "Mission Impossible" where you expect impossible and improbable, and the whole point is pure entertainment. But this movie pretends to be a serious crime drama. Well, it is rather another "could have been"... It it were seriously edited and cut to, say, 100 minutes instead of 153, then, maybe, it would be quite good of a movie. I was disappointed.
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  51. Jan 7, 2014
    9
    Maybe a bit long bit thrilling throughout. Sometimes I forget how good of an actor Hugh Jackman is because of movies like Wolverine that I have no interest in, but he is riveting here. He drives a powerful screenplay that is tense and foreboding. Definitely not for those who are squeamish, but there is a moment in this film as powerful as anything in 12 Years a Slave that will break down your defenses that is almost in itself worth the price of admission. Expand
  52. Dec 18, 2013
    7
    A mostly mediocre film with some incredible performances. The plot itself tugs at heart strings a tad too much but its okay since the ending and acting are downright fantastic. Gyllenhall and Jackman are incredible and frankly its surprising to see the lack of love for them in this awards season. Even when the scene seems trite and overwrought with melodrama these two, neigh, the cast seems to ground it with force and believability unlike any other performance this year. The ending too is handled marvelously, making a perfect balancing act between meaningful and happy go lucky. Expand
  53. Sep 20, 2013
    10
    Despite using a ton of name-brand actors it has almost no hollywoodisms to an uncomfortable degree. It feels so real that it's difficult to watch. One of the tensest things I've ever seen. Beyond being a great thriller, it also engages with larger issues that have been touched on in previous films like Zero Dark Thirty and Munich, namely: even if justified, what damage does vengeance or torture do to us as a society when we carry them out? Collapse
  54. Sep 22, 2013
    10
    This movie kept me on the edge of my seat. The characters and acting were amazing. The twist and turns kept you contemplating who was the real culprit for the disappearance of the two girls. Everything was perfect. Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal cary the movie. Well Done!!!
  55. Mar 25, 2014
    10
    i think hoolywood sometimes makes really good movies, some of them are making you feel nervous, sky, scared, and prisoners is one of the few movies that makes that, the acitng is amazing, the cinematograohy pfffff beautifull, but the most important thing is the script, its the best script i saw.
    BEST MOVIE EVER
  56. May 26, 2014
    7
    Prisoners is a prime example of why I will never understand Hollywood. You've got a truly great story, an all-star cast, and a world renowned Director, making his American debut. Prisoners was considered to be an Oscar caliber film before it was even released, yet for some reason they had to make it nearly three hours long. If there was enough story for a three hour film, then I'd be all for it, but Prisoners has a good 45 minutes worth of repetitiveness, that does nothing to help the movie, in fact, it takes something away from the film. The story begins on Thanksgiving, when two little girls go outside to play and disappear. Feeling that the police aren't doing enough to find the kids, one father (Hugh Jackman) decides to take matters into his own hands. Hugh Jackman stars in a role I wouldn't have imagined him playing in a million years. Based on his other roles and what I know about the man, this doesn't even seem like the kind of role he'd be interested in, but he gives one of the strongest performances I've seen all year, I really didn't know he had that in him. Jackman is paired by Jake Gyllenhaal, another guy who I couldn't see playing a tough as nails police detective, but he too surprised, giving a very strong performance. The cast isn't the problem and the story isn't the problem, what bothered me about this film was how much of it was unnecessary. Did we really need dozens of scenes with Jackman and Dano or all the talk and sadness amongst the families? This was a great all-around movie, but it was so long, that by the end, I'd stopped caring about what was happening and just wanted it to be over. Don't get me wrong, I highly recommend this film for a unique twist on classic story, great performances from an unlikely cast, and the work of a Director who his known around the world for his signature style, but just a word of caution. Prisoners is a very long film, that at many points seems to go around in circles. When they eventually do get to the point, it's outstanding, but it takes a while to get there. Expand
  57. Dec 19, 2013
    8
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. One more Hollywood recruiter of foreign talents, Canadian Villeneuve (from INCENDIES 2010) submits his Tinseltown debut with a dark drama about a child abduction, congregated by a swathe of bankable thespians and a virtuoso DP Roger Deakins, it was a considerable success both in box office and among critics, although its Oscar prospect will not likely pan out.

    PRISONERS conventionally chronicles the appalling case with thorough stoicism to supply enormous stretches to the key performers, Jackson and Gyllenhaal are the two leading players, one is a dogged father believes in his own judgment and is pressured to take extreme measures to fish out information of his missing daughter; another is an idiosyncratic cop has to probe into a sordid scenario while his own backstory remains veiled. Through all these years Gyllenhaal has honed up his screen personality substantially and his quirky foibles (the compulsive blinking here) make him more human while Jackman is a tad over-the-top with a more straightforward character development.

    Bello, as the flip side of Jackson, her post-trauma symptom is being fully destroyed, cannot function anymore, a devastating mother is a piece of cake for her; Howard and Davis pair stand for a more neutral ethnic line here, which one can relate to oneself under the context, but their shortcomings are as glaring as they are ubiquitous. Dano, who takes us aback with another ambivalent career-turn, his make-up in the torture scenes is too surreal for general viewers, theoretically we should feel sympathetic for him, but somehow he manages to diminish this feeling with his look of opaqueness, is he a real retarded victim or a lackey enjoys the gore? It is a moot point where lingers great aftertaste. We cannot leave Melissa Leo behind here since she is the hidden culprit, her reasons for killing aside, her performance does enhance the story’s credibility, and although her downfall is ordained, her encounter with Jackson in the ultimate confrontation is gold and only she can emotionally overpower and cramp Wolverine into his redemption into the darkness.

    Villeneuve proves wonderfully he is a dab hand can handle challenging projects like this, the whole production team is top-notch, Deakins’ camera irradiates specifically in the car sequences near the end, alongside the cutthroat editing, a subdued iridescence can never be more ravishing and what’s more praiseworthy is that it thrusts the narrative into its ultimacy with utter urgency and dazzlement.

    PRISONERS sits comfily into my top 10 year-list, PICTURE, DIRECTOR, LEADING ACTOR (2 spots), SUPPORTING ACTOR and SUPPORTING ACTRESS, for my no-gut-no-glory Oscar prediction, I sincerely hope Deakins can sneak in, alas, even so, he is no chance of winning over GRAVITY (2013, 9/10).
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  58. Dec 19, 2013
    10
    It takes a certain type of crazy and deprivation to kidnap the Wolverine's daughter. Seriously though, this was a great movie with great performances.
  59. Sep 23, 2013
    9
    Prisoners is definitely by far one of the best crime thrillers of our generation. It is a very dark environment this film takes place in and the atmosphere is one that is cold and shocking. It attacks your core on a personal level by trying to put you in the characters' shoes, would you have done what Keller(Hugh Jackman) did to try and find his daughter, is one of the huge questions director Denis Villeneuve tries to emphasize on you and throughout you contemplate whether or not it was, which is what really got me on this film. The acting by the two leads is superb, by far my favorite Hugh Jackman role, and Jake Gyllenhaal plays the role like he has done it many times. I must say that the rest of the characters didn't really place their importance in this film besides Paul Dano, and I didn't want it to end the way it did. All in all this film was really enjoyable to watch, I'd suggest going to see this in theaters. Expand
  60. Sep 1, 2014
    8
    With several incredibly strong performances and beautiful direction, this film reaches every aspect of our emotions. It is not often that a film of this measure can hold our suspense, but this one does.
  61. Nov 4, 2013
    8
    What a ride exhausting and just when you think you have it all figured out, The performances are excellent with Jackman and Gyllenhaal great foils for each other. The only character that's poorly written is Terence Howard as the young Birch girl's father and the problem is that he's drawn as one-dimensional, the sensitive man who cares. This is definitely a dark, violent journey and reflects perfectly the horror that enters every parents' head at just the thought of a missing child. Expand
  62. Oct 10, 2013
    9
    O K.... I was impressed with the fact that there was no eye popping special effects or slick or outstanding on location shooting. This was filmed in an average neighborhood and a slum type of area and so to get this many excellent reviews only two things can hold up a movie such as this and that is story line and acting... Both of which are excellent
  63. Sep 28, 2013
    8
    Really good film. The acting, especially by Jackman and Gyllenhaal, was really good and believable. In addition, the directing did an outstanding job creating the mood. You felt sad when you were supposed to feel sad and you felt scared when you were supposed to feel scared, etc. Overall, a really tense and dark film that is quite successful all-around.
  64. Oct 7, 2013
    9
    I wasn't really interested in this movie until reviews started coming out, but even then i thought "it will probably just be a typical kidnapping movie". No. Jesus, no. It's an incredibly dark movie with a terrifyingly plausible story that keeps you interested all the way through (and the ending...dear god the ending). Some really great direction here and some terrific acting, Hugh Jackman and Jake Gylenhall (sorry if I'm spelling that wrong) both deserve Oscar nominations. Definitely check it out if you're interested. Expand
  65. Nov 19, 2013
    8
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Una piccola e sonnacchiosa comunità in mezzo ai boschi viene messa sottosopra dalla sparizione di due bambine. Il primo sospettato, Alex, ha un’età mentale attorno ai dieci anni e non sarebbe capace di organizzare un rapimento, almeno da solo: il poliziotto incaricato delle indagini, l’ispettore Loki (sì, proprio come il fratello di Thor), lo lascia andare e inizia una paziente indagine partendo quasi dal nulla. Keller Dover, il padre di una delle due bimbe, si autoconvince però che Alex (il cui aspetto, in effetti, inquieta un po’) sia in qualche modo colpevole, lo sequestra e non si ferma davanti a nulla per cercare di farlo parlare. Le traiettorie dei due viaggiano quasi in parallelo fino alla fine, dove, seppure in modo involontario, Dover finisce per aiutare Loki a squarciare l’ultimo velo: nel frattempo, l’ispettore ha ribaltato il classico sasso che nascondeva un verminaio, scoprendo che il paesino, oltre che sonnacchioso, pure un po’ omertoso e comunque incapace di vedere, o ammettere, le brutture che vivono sotto la superficie. Se Dover rappresenta la violenza che cova all’ombra delle maschere che destano meno sospetti, nelle cantine delle linde casette immerse nel verde sono occultati segreti che pare impossibile che vengano ignorati e il tutto ruota intorno a una religiosità opprimente capace di scatenare demoni incontrollabili: oltre alle patologie psichiatriche, il risultato un inquietante deserto dei sentimenti compresi i genitori delle bambine che, in un modo o nell’altro, si chiudono in se stessi senza riuscire ad aiutarsi a vicenda che mette in seria discussione l’idea di piccola comunità solidale. Insomma, c’è del marcio in Pennsylvania (ovvero, più genericamente, nella provincia americana) e a testimoniarlo ecco allora tutta una serie di simboli, a volte forse troppo evidenti, a partire dal sacrificio di un innocente cervo già nella prima scena per arrivare ai serpenti striscianti qua e là: uno sguardo critico non certo nuovo ma che non intacca l’essenza del film, anzi contribuisce ad aggiungere ulteriore efficacia a una storia ben scritta e ancor meglio filmata capace di appassionare dall’inizio alla fine malgrado le oltre due ore e mezza di durata complessiva. Unendo una tensione di stampo con sensazioni opprimenti da ‘Il silenzio degli innocenti’ (tanto per citare un titolo), Villeneuve, assieme allo sceneggiatore Aaron Guzikowski, trova il ritmo adatto per costruire le giuste atmosfere per il genere, oltretutto alle prese con un argomento non facile come sempre quando vengono coinvolti i più piccoli: ne esce una solida struttura filmica immersa in una luce fredda e ormai invernale ben fotografata da Roger Deakins tra uno scroscio di pioggia e una spruzzata di neve (l’azione si svolge nella settimana successiva al Ringraziamento). Il regista canadese sceglie uno stile essenziale, con la macchina da presa che si muove solo quando necessario concentrandosi spesso sui volti dei personaggi, nel segno di una netta preferenza per l’evoluzione psicologica rispetto all’azione (anche se sarà difficile dimenticare l’impatto emotivo della corsa notturna in macchina di Loki per salvare la piccola Anna): Importante anche il contributo del cast che si distingue per interpretazioni tutte di ottimo livello: le due mamme addolorate Viola Davis e Maria Bello (che forse avrebbero meritato maggiore spazio), l’altra madre Melissa Leo anche al netto di qualche gigionismo di troppo e, soprattutto, i due attori impegnati nei ruoli principali. L’australiano Hugh Jackman presta il volto a un personaggio complesso come Dover sottolineandone le ambiguità, perché, se vero che non siamo di fronte a un giustiziere della notte, indiscutibile che dietro alla figura tutta segheria e famiglia già si agitasse qualche fantasma ‘prega per il meglio, ma preparati al peggio’ che poi esplode portandolo oltre qualsiasi limite dell’accettabile anche considerando la sua dolorosa condizione. Di fronte a lui, ci sono i dubbi e la determinazione di Loki, ennesima figura di poliziotto amareggiato dal mestiere che pure, tra errori e incertezze, giunge a una soluzione che non serve certo a rasserenarne l’animo: nei suoi panni, tra misteriosi tatuaggi e un insistito tic agli occhi, Jake Gyllenhaal dà vita a una prova davvero notevole che finisce per farlo preferire, seppur di un nonnulla, ai suoi compagni di avventura. Expand
  66. Oct 12, 2013
    10
    well let me tell you something, I enjoyed the movie very much, the acting was great, the story was great, the effects was great, I was very pleased from the movie, but lets get to the bad size, well I went to the movie theater to see This is the end, because in my country it release date was only last week, so me and my friends went to the theater and they didn't let us in because we are 13 years old and this is the end was 16+ in my country, so I had to compromise and I knew that prisoners got a 74/100 and in my country it was only 13+, and you got to agree wit me that prisoners is way more not to my age than this is the end, so we chose prisoners and we thought that it whould be a great drama movie but not that kind of uncomfortable drama movies, and don't get me wrong, even if I am 13 doesn't mean that I didn't saw uncomfortable movies and TV shows, so you know what it was most uncomfortable movie that I ever saw, but even with that I got nothing bad to say about this movie, it was a great movie, but I was a little disappointed because me and my friends went to the movie theater for a movie with comedy, instead of that we went to a dark drama movie. Expand
  67. Oct 29, 2013
    9
    Heavy, dark, slow, disturbing, thought provoking, but entirely gripping. Contrary to popular opinion, I thought Gyllenhall and Jackman both overacted a bit. But the great performance of this one is Melissa Leo, who should be nominated (again) for an Academy Award. Totally convincing in her role. The plot is convoluted (though it does make sense, if only on reflection) and the pace is glacial, especially at the beginning. But it is a measure of how well directed the movie is that by the end you realise the pace is exactly right for the tone and the nature of the investigation at hand. There are multiple perspectives and revelations, some extremely fleeting, and while the movie is long and quite oppressive, there is also wonderful economy in the direction and script. A triumph. Villeneuve even gets something new out of a car chase scene, which is a miracle in itself. Expand
  68. May 10, 2014
    6
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I liked it for the most part, but was kind of disappointed.The movie has great actors, and they did a great job.It also did a good job of keeping me guessing, but the ending was kind of annoying for me.It just felt incomplete for me, and I didn`t get any real satisfaction out of anything that happened. Expand
  69. Sep 22, 2013
    10
    It may be a complete gut punch of a movie at times, but that's the entire appeal of this almost faultlessly acted, shot, directed, written, and executed chiller/thriller.
  70. Feb 3, 2014
    10
    'Prisoners' deals with kidnappings and serial killers. But there's a twist. This time the father of the abducted child loses hope in the law and runs an investigation in parallel with the police.

    Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) is an ordinary father until his daughter is picked up in the vicinity of his house along with the daughter of his good friend Franklin Birch (Terrence Howard). At
    first he trusts in the detective assigned to the case, David Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal), to find their daughters. But when the man suspected in the kidnapping, Alex Jones (Paul Dano), is released due to lack of evidence, he takes matters into his own hands and abducts him in turn. Dover devises crueller forms of torture when Alex doesn't budge. The Birches get involved. Dover tries his best to keep his imprisonment of Alex a secret.

    Two cases attract Loki's attention as he looks for the girls. The connection between them and the main case becomes apparent as the plot advances. A man runs from him during a candlelight vigil for the girls. He has a sketch made and hunts for him earnestly.

    There are a few red herrings and then a few Chekhov's guns. There are a few clues for those who keep a watchful eye. By the time the movie ends you feel sorry for some characters you might have been hating until that point. Unfortunately, not much can be revealed about that without risking to spoil the whole experience for the viewer. Prisoners is the sort of film that forces you to think about it for a while after you're done watching. There were a few puzzles I was still mulling over in my head and had to discuss with people to get their take on it. But rest assured that everything that is worth including is included in the theatrical edition.

    The two investigations eventually end up at the same place, and the ending is bittersweet. I think it was well done, contrary to what everyone else has been saying about it.

    Roger Deakins lives up to his name. Every scene was exquisitely shot. The film was well edited. At a running time of two hours and twenty six minutes, Prisoners is a fast paced drama that never relents and constantly surprises and amazes at every turn. The characters were well drawn. Hugh Jackman depicts the anguish of a grieving father with poignant scenes. Jake Gyllenhaal portrays the detective as a distinct, somewhat eccentric, and extremely dedicated man married to his job. I couldn't find any weaknesses in the script. The plot only progressed after making sure that everything that could be done to find the girls had been done. There were no imbecile moves made by anyone that contributed to the advancement of the story, except perhaps for one scene near the end, where Dover turns his back on someone he had reason not to. The tension and the sense of thrill was retained through the majority of the length of the film.

    It was an intelligent film made for an intelligent and vigilant audience, but the way it was shot and edited it also held the attention of those who don't have an attention span to boast of, so the element of urgency is perhaps what may have intrigued them and kept them awake.
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  71. Sep 29, 2013
    8
    After about 20 minutes Prisoners begins to feel like it is going to be another paint by numbers, seen it all before kidnap drama. However, the longer it goes on (and it is a long watch) the better it gets. Subsequent twists, turns and genuine surprises of the extremely well constructed screenplay enables the movie to finally find its footing. The end result is a superior mystery thriller, even though a few questions do remain unanswered. The performances contribute a great deal. There is no denying that Hugh Jackman is very good here but he is playing a rather dislike able character, even given the circumstances. His frequent rants tend to dissolve into monotone. Jake Gyllenhaal is much better as the cop. With his constant eye tics and suspicious nature he is the true heart of what makes prisoners ultimately as good as it is. One constant irritation though, was the implausible fact that whenever he needed it no back up or help was anywhere to be seen. Perfection, as they say, is in the detail. Expand
  72. Dec 20, 2013
    9
    I witnessed many surprises this year and 'Prisoners' is one of those made me stun. With the big names in it, the movie revolves around a mysterious incident that puts two families into the sorrow. The deeply moving characters and its emotions are the movie's plus point and of course the great performance by the great actors as well. It is refreshing to see Hugh Jackman in a role the father to a missing child.

    A similar kinda movie to 'The Lovely Bones' where two young girls are go missing and their parent's never ending search for them begins. With a single clue they begin to dig every detail to bring back their children along with the help of a young cop. As expected character diversion had an important hand in mystify and confuse the viewers without falling for anything to conclude their prediction before it reveal itself.

    Fine photography. It was pleasant to see cool frames where there's no sun glare but always cloudy, shadow and dark atmosphere something like the movie 'The Awakening'. It brought real close to us the real grief of a family that we can almost feel it. Good or bad ending, the way it ends is all matters. In this story they give us an opportunity to take it either way as you want. One thing I was not convinced is the motivation for the abduction. The reason seemed to me a silly but in reality everything can be possible and sometimes it won't need reasons at all. Finally, it is a must not miss movie from the 2013 film calender.
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  73. Mar 11, 2014
    2
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. i watched this because i miss "true detective". thought it might have a similar vibe. wrong. it's tricked out schlock.. hugh jackman overacts loudly and badly, the red herrings pile up, and the absolute worst is that paul dano is tortured horrifically and, in the end, the film wants us to believe it'll all be ok for him in the end. ugh. avoid. Expand
  74. Oct 22, 2013
    8
    Prisoners is a good, but extremely depressing movie about child abduction. It's a little too long, but Hugh Jackman gives the performance of his career and Jake Gylenhaal was good. Solid movie.
  75. Jan 3, 2014
    8
    Literally just finished watching this and my heart is still racing. Jesus Christ this movie is tense.
    Hugh Jackman plays the father of one of two children abducted on Thanksgiving, I think that this year it's between him and Tom Hanks for Best Actor. With the exception of Jake Gyllenhaal as Detective Loki (Best Supporting Actor 2013), the cast is reasonably unknown. That doesn't mean that
    they don't all do a brilliant. But there is one performance in the movie, by an actor who before watching this was unknown to me, which is amazing. Paul Dano as Alex Jones. Give that man an Oscar. No give him a new type of award which is better than an Oscar. A award or something. He plays a strange, creepy alleged pedofile who is the supposed culprit behind the kidnapping of the two girls. The one word which comes to mind when I think of his character is slimy. He's a mix of Hannibal Lecter, Gollum and the late Michael Jackson. Super creepy! I would watch the 150 minute movie all over again just for his performance. Best actor in the whole film, he totally compensates for the plot hole riddled script and some boring scenes. Much like the recent movies Captain Phillips, Argo and Zero Dark Thirty one of my favourite things about Prisoners is that it stays realistic the whole way through and does not exaggerate action scenes or the climax. This is probably why it gets slow moving and quite boring in the middle, but it's still riveting stuff overall. I am not the type of movie reviewer who pays attention to the score, however, from what I have heard it was extremely effective at building up tension and always fit the scenes it was being played too. Finally the ending is extremely hard to understand. Once I had checked that I was right on Wikipedia it made sense. But as the credits started to roll, I asked myself the question: "What the just happened"?
    Overall Prisoners is a hugely enjoyable movie. Sure it has plot holes the size of small villages and the ending isn't very easy to interpret. But those things are redeemed by Hugh Jackman's brilliant lead and Paul Dano's chilling, shiver inducing performance as the alleged pedofile who can best be described with the word: slimy. Ridiculously tense and very intelligent Prisoners is undoubtedly worth a watch.
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  76. Apr 14, 2014
    8
    I give it a 8.5 out of 10. The film is tense, the cinematography is outstanding, the pace is perfect to the point I can say the two hours and a half fly like it´s nothing, enjoyable from beginning to end, unpredictable when it comes to the fate of the characters, you are invested the whole time, you care about it, the acting is on point and pretty much perfect from absolutely everyone in the film, and I mean it, everybody and many more good things. The only thing I could say against it is that it definitely is not an innovative film, we have seen this type of story many times before. That´s why I´m not giving it my strong 9 out of 10, which is like the biggest score I usually give a film. But so damn good. In my top 10 films of 2013. Expand
  77. Oct 11, 2013
    9
    Prisoners is a masterpiece. The best performances of Hugh Jackman as well as Jake Gyllenhaal.
    This movie is the first to actually keep me on the edge of my seat. Prisoners has amazing cinematography with a great use of colors. Hands down one of the best movies of the year! Definitely a potential Oscar® Winner.
    The trailer tells not even an eighth of the story. I went in to the theatree
    expecting one thing, and got a whole two and a half hours of twists and genius ideas.
    Although it's dark and somewhat scary, everyone has to see this at some point.
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  78. Jan 15, 2014
    8
    I was rather impressed with this film. It kept me interested all the way to the end with the extra element of mystery, which challenges the viewer to make sense of everything. The acting by all major characters was great particularly Hugh Jackman showing fear and rage at the same time. It's been a while since I seen a film like this.

    The writers of this film definitely succeeded in
    creating a story that is cryptic and compelling. At the end I thought back over the film to see how objects, people, and other things were connected to what occurred. I didn't even understand why and how things occurred or were connected which created a lot of discussion afterwards. My partner and I shared our thoughts of what we understood; it took both of us to make sense of it all. Good writing and that correct application of it certain shows when it takes two educated people to understand everything.

    This film also made me think about justice and what I would do: is the law always correct? Should we take the law into our own hands? Are laws too black and white? Whether intended or not this opens a dialogue about right and wrong, trusting police, and rational thinking.
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  79. Dec 21, 2013
    10
    My eyes were literally GLUED to the screen for 2.5 hours. I thought it would let up after 45 minutes. Nope. Acting is perfect. Shots are gorgeous. The plot suspends your sense of time. Every scene is captivating. And great ending. Best movie in a long time. How is this misunderstood by some? Don't get it. But hey, that's why art is subjective I guess.
  80. Jan 2, 2014
    8
    Prisoners is one of the most thrilling films of 2013. A thrilling,dark film that deals with the subject of child kidnapping. The movie has an incredible atmosphere, and Roger Deakin's gorgeous cinematography helps set a haunting,bleak mood that permeates throughout the entire film. Rain is always falling, snow covers the ground, and darkness covers everything. The characters involved go through hell, and you as the viewer are engaged every step of the way. This is the best performance I've seen from Hugh Jackman,no doubt about that. I haven't seen him give a performance like this since Darren Aronofsky's 2006 film "The Fountain". Jackman immerses himself into the role of the father who will do whatever it takes to find his missing daughter. The other performances are great as well, but it's Jackman's that really stands out. Prisoners is one of the best movies of 2013, but it does have a few problems. The biggest one is that the script leaves a lot of plot-holes and the final act is rather unsatisfying.It's not a big gripe of mine, but the movie does fall apart a bit in it's final minutes. Nonetheless Prisoners is still a great film,especially for those who are fans of dark,mystery thrillers like Zodiac and Se7en. Expand
  81. Sep 22, 2013
    9
    This summer was one for the books. With the exception of "Despicable Me 2", most highly anticipated films were duds, "The Lone Ranger" the biggest disappointment of all. Fortunately this fall seems to be starting off much better, thanks to "Prisoners".
    It's a first rate crime thriller with new developments at every turn, making it very difficult to figure out exactly what has
    happened, as the audience discovers the truth at the same time the characters do. Hugh Jackman as always is excellent as the grieving and understandably manic father of a kidnapped daughter, along with her friend and the neighbor's girl at the same time.
    Jake Gyllenhaal turns in a performance as good as Jackman's as the detective assigned to and determined to find the girls alive.
    One critic reviewed this movie and slammed it all the way through, and just to show his ignorance managed to re-slam "Mystic River", so it's a safe assumption based on the fact that both are riveting stories and excellent movies, this critic either pans the good stuff just to be a jerk or doesn't know a good movie when it bites his ass.
    The movie will keep you guessing throughout I had misidentified the kidnapper at least three times. It is a dark and utterly humorless movie, but for those who like a good crime mystery, it's among the best. While not similar in plot to the superb "Shutter Island", it does remind me of that unpredictable ending too. Whether it's Oscar material is debatable, but it is one of the best movies of the year so far.
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  82. Sep 28, 2013
    10
    IS Prisoners 2 in the making?? I'll definitely hate to watch it, if does coz there are no rooms for a sequel...........................................
  83. Dec 17, 2013
    10
    Went into this movie expecting something good but nothing mind blowing. What I got was something completely unexpected. Prisoners is a gripping story that has a dark tone to it. Personally I like those movies but what made this movie different is the way they approach 2 characters in particular. Nothing is what you expect it to be and the ending was perfect. Possibly the best movie of the year so far. The only other movies I have given a 10 to this year have been Gravity and Captain Phillips. This deserves more attention and recognition than its getting. Expand
  84. Jan 2, 2014
    10
    Prisoners is a mind blowing and very moving movie. Hugh Jackman was absolutely outstanding as the main role as the father. Unbelievable. Also credit to Jake Gyllenhall but god, Hugh Jackman definitely stole the show. Story was intense and dramatic and connecting with the characters was almost instant. This movie truly showed how far a father would go to protect his family. Throughout the entire movie, I couldn't help but thinking, that if this happened to me, I would be doing exactly what Hugh is acting out. Must see Expand
  85. Oct 13, 2013
    7
    One of the better entries into this year’s crowded fall season is ‘Prisoners’, and it will leave you on the edge of your seat. When a family man’s daughter and her friend go missing; he takes matters into his own hands while the police methodically pursue multiple leads. It’s a rather conventional story that just happens to be very well told, and never short on legitimately tense and shocking moments. But it should be noted that this is not just gripping thriller, it’s also a dense drama. It’s a drama so dense, that it easily came across as being too self serious; no thanks to those slightly excessive performances and the staggering runtime. In short, the film felt a bit overly dramatic. Hugh Jackman stands out as a devout father who, through his desperation, acts on tense misguided emotions to search for his missing daughter. However, Jake Gyllenhaal, while good, doesn't benefit as much from the subtle excesses of his character. He portrays a tattoo laden, eye twitching, heroic figure (in contrast to Jackman’s anti-heroic turn), who carefully leads the investigation for the missing girls. Director, Denis Villeneuve directs his actors consistently, and excels at constructing the tension that lingers throughout this chilly film. Atmosphere is key when it comes to bleak thrillers such as this; and who better than, cinematographer, Roger Deakins to set the dreadful tone. His lenses which captures the grey days and pitch black nights, offset by the clear rain and white snow, adds nuance and a great degree pedigree to something that could have easily been a pedestrian project. ‘Prisoners’ looked great, and through its faults came some rewards; as the performance heavy approach and the solidity of its crime story kept me invested in the characters and truly engaged with the movie on a whole. And what else can I say; its impressive ending didn't hurt one bit. Expand
  86. Oct 31, 2013
    5
    It has suspense but any movie where two little girls are kidnapped is going to have suspense even if it isn't well-written. 'Prisoners' is such a movie. Most of the time you see either an incompetent detective or a desperate father torturing someone who, for unknown reasons, doesn't tell him what he knows about the crime. The third act is bad and the closure of the story is unacceptable. At least Jackman is great, he convinces you that he is full of anger, pain and regret.
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  87. Oct 23, 2013
    9
    After watching the trailer for this movie, I thought that it's going to be your average mystery and thriller type of movie so I wasn't really interested on watching the film movie, but as again I was wrong. This movie had incredible acting, dialog and editing. Now that's a lot to handle when making a movie but if it's executed well, then you have yourself an impressive movie. Prisoners is an impressive movie but it still has it's flaws. The movie got a bit draggy at some parts and there were scenes that should have been cut. Those scenes felt pointless and it only succeeded with one thing, making the movie longer. Scenes that felt pointless and should have been removed from the movie is something that should be kept in mind.If those scenes are not removed then it would make some parts of the movie dragging. Enough about it's flaws, let's talk about the good stuff like the superb acting of Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal. In my opinion the both of them deserve an award this year for their roles. They have a lot of highlights from this film that needs noticing. The dialog was well done as well, listening to those dialogs just gives you a smile on your face and gives you the feeling that you are watching a very impressive movie. Prisoners gets a 9/10. Expand
  88. Mar 28, 2014
    9
    Hugh Jackman was what made me get this movie, and I don't regret it. It's an interesting thriller with good end to it, but at times predictable, visually interesting, and grabbed my attention to the end, I didn't feel bored for a minute. Hugh, despite anything negative, was at his best, he has definitely earned another medal for me, as well as Jake, which was surprising, he isn't one of my favourites. So all in all I enjoyed the movie, it was definitely worth watching. Expand
  89. Sep 23, 2013
    9
    Unsettling, gloomy, grimy, atmospheric. Terrific thriller. Decent twists and turns, and overall uncomfortable feeling. What i look for in a movie. Unlike everyone else, i like long movies. Escape
  90. Jan 15, 2014
    9
    I honestly regret not seeing this film sooner because it is just amazing! The story is a fantastic mystery that kept me hooked the entire time and the performances from Hugh Jackman, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard, Viola Davis, Melissa Leo, Paul Dano and Jake Gyllenhaal are all top shelf stuff. Pretty much everything about this movie is incredible and it didn’t fail to entertain me in the slightest. Expand
  91. Oct 11, 2013
    8
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. It's a well shot, well paced and brilliantly acted thriller. Even the child actors whom had very little screen time did a great job. It also has some real nail bitting suspense and a consistant tone that kept my attention throughout. Plus it has a great soundtrack that helped keep the dark and depressing tone keep afloat. The ending maybe a little bit to predictable (not the plot twist mind you). This movie will probably be in my top ten of 2013. Expand
  92. May 25, 2014
    8
    Damn This was a great movie had me guessing all the way till the vary end I mean I was able to put some things together through out the movie but all the twists were just crazy an too much. The film follows two families trying to deal with thier daughters coming up missing and the dectective (Jake Gyllenhaal) trying to find out what happened to them. The cast was amazing and everyone did a great job Jake Gyllenhaal does a great cop now doubt about that with End of Watch and now this. Hugh Jackman was on another level though it was the best proformance I have ever seen from him.

    The realism is what makes the film how the families try to deal with what is happening to them and what they will do to get their children back. Sure some will say it was hard to watch at times but I guess it's the realism that helps with that. I never really had a hard time watching the torture scenes and seeing all the reviews I was thinking it was going to be a lot worse then it was. The ending leaves off without the whole stroy wrapping up but i actually liked it though I can see why other would be upset by it.

    Overall I give it a 8.5 Third best film i watched this year beating out Mud. This movie is a great watch but i think it's one of those movies that you can really only watch once.
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  93. Oct 26, 2013
    9
    Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners is way better than it looks in the trailer. The trailer seems to give away all the secrets of the film upfront; it portrays the film as lacking depth, but in reality, it’s just the trailer that misleads. There is much more to Prisoners than one may anticipate.

    The film star’s Hugh Jackman (surprise, surprise) as Keller Dover. Jackman is having an
    over-exposure problem at this moment in his career. As the actor seems to appear in every other film released these days, this creates questions that shouldn’t exist like, “What is the Wolverine doing in this movie Prisoners?” Nonetheless Jackman delivers a solid, if not dimensional performance. His energy keeps the movie constantly driving forward.

    The film opens with two working class families getting together to celebrate Thanksgiving. Festivities abound, but while the responsible adults of the film have their attentions focused elsewhere, their two little girls run outside to play, unchaperoned. By the time the girls’ absence is noticed, it’s too late. The girls are gone. They have been taken. The major conflict of the film then is how to get the girls back alive.

    This job falls on Detective Loki, (Jake Gyllenhaal) but when Loki fails to produce results quickly enough, Keller Dover decides to take the search for the girls, and for civil justice, into his own hands. Performance-wise, Gyllenhaal as Loki is the highlight of the film. He maintains a subtle, calm composure, which contrasts Keller’s (Jackman’s) constant flying-off-the-rails. Loki shows a certain vulnerability while still being able to pull off fast-pace action sequences in an authentic, belivable way. He is very enjoyable to watch.

    The actual visual experience of Villeneuve’s films is very important. His 2010 film Incendies made full use of wide and vast cinematography applied in exotic landscapes. This visual imagery captivated, but all the technique was there to serve the story, the plot developments, the characters. Incendies is a masterfully crafted tragedy and Villeneuve’s commanding technique is evident too throughout Prisoners.

    Like Incendies the filters and tones that are applied to the film, as in the actual visual images on screen, are gloomy and sepia-toned. There’s not a single sunny sky, a warm day, an orderly room. Sets are designed to feel dark and empty, the best scenes use sets that play with space, showing both the abundance of vacant space for some characters, while still emphasizing the feeling of enclosure felt by others. The use of light and dark, order and disorder, space, all things that cradle the actors performances, are created by Villeneuve, expertly.

    The suspense of the film continues all the way to the very end as Keller Dover’s untamed compulsion to find the missing girls leads to a perfectly executed, nail biter of an ending.
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  94. Sep 25, 2013
    8
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The film opens with Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) hunting with his son Ralph (Dylan Minnette). He utters a prayer as the deer wanders into the audience's vision. They say amen and Ralph shoots the deer. They drive home in heavy rain, while Keller gives his son a lecture about being prepared in life. They then return to home and the family goes to their neighbours for Thanksgiving dinner. He we are introduced to the very well written characters such as Franklin Birch (Terrence Howard) and his wife Nancy (Viola Davis). Both Keller and Terrence have young daughters around the same age, and they go outside to play. Keller's daughter Anna (Erin Gerasimovich) asks her parents if she can go with Eliza (Zoe Soul), Terrence's daughter, back to her house to find her red whistle. But the family finds later she never asked her brother to come with her. They don't hear from the girls, and panic sets on.
    The girls are declared missing and it is Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) who is put on the case. He finds a man who was near girls last known location and brings him in. His name is Alex (Paul Dano) but unfortunately isn't able to tell them much else. Without evidence he is released, but Keller is certain Alex took his daughter, and he won't stop until he can find his daughter by any means necessary.
    The movie may be slow for people, but it takes its time to develop strong characters and creates a sense of realism from the performances. Hugh Jackman's character is so well done I was reminded of the desperate man performances of the past like James Stewart in Vertigo (1958) or Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven (1992). It's a very enduring character that I believe will be remembered fondly in the years to come. Another interesting performance is by Jake Gyllenhaal as Detective Loki. He's a Detective who cares about the case but is open to all possibilities as film goes on. Even his image with the slicked back hair and tattoos are rather different from the strong moral sense he exhibits.
    But aside from the performances the cinematography stands out. The director of photography, Roger Deakins, uses slow zooms and out focus backgrounds with great editing to create a unique visual experience. Visually it compares to Deakins' other work like Skyfall (2012) and No Country for Old Men (2007). In the end Prisoners work on multiple levels and is a great film to see in theatres.
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  95. Dec 22, 2013
    9
    I'm not a fan of crime thillers but Prisoners was one of mt this year's favorite movies. Jake Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman are both great actors and they nailed it this time.
  96. Sep 22, 2013
    10
    Absolutely the best film of the year so far. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. Great writing and acting(by jackman, gyllenhaal, and dano especially). The shocking ending left me really thinking about the movie. Highly recommended.
  97. Sep 23, 2013
    6
    The actors tried hard to give their characters some depth (eye twitch Jake) but the story felt like something a 9th grader wrote for his creative writing assignment. I felt like it moved from one predictable moment to the next while, all the time, jumping up and down and waving its hand "Look at me! See what I did here? Isn't it cool?" I may have sat for the 153 minutes and walked away entertained, but that is the only expectation met. The quality of the entertainment was sorely lacking. Expand
  98. Sep 30, 2013
    10
    Interesting dark story. Great characters. Excellent casting. I came away from the theater wanting to know background stories about each of the main characters. Somehow I had to explain the whole story to another woman who sat near me. She came away not understanding anything that happened and was shocked when I explained it to her. She said it sounded like I saw a different film than she did. I guess not every movie is for every viewer... Expand
  99. Oct 4, 2013
    9
    Perfect direction, powerful story, excellent performances.. A gripping, dark, psychological mystery thriller, which will make you keep at the edge of your seat! Try to find out who is the real culprit of the abduction!! Quickly, you don't have time!!
  100. Dec 19, 2013
    10
    Prisoners was an amazing movie! The cinematography, the direction, the performances by Gyllenhaal and Jackman were among the best I've seen in recent years. The writing was also great. I cannot believe how criminally under-rated this movie is. It is a long movie so it's possible that people lost attention. But wow, I was touched by this movie, and I would recommend it to anyone.
Metascore
74

Generally favorable reviews - based on 46 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 36 out of 46
  2. Negative: 1 out of 46
  1. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Sep 30, 2013
    88
    Is torture ever justifiable? A twisty, compelling, brilliantly acted (if sometimes difficult to watch) thriller, Prisoners, asks this question not in the usual contemporary context — anti-terrorism — but instead as a gruesome option deployed as a response to every parent’s worst nightmare.
  2. Reviewed by: Emma Dibdin
    Sep 25, 2013
    80
    A simmering pressure cooker of a thriller, Prisoners is an unforgiving but emotionally rewarding experience sustained by powerhouse performances, taut scripting and Villeneuve’s tonally assured direction.
  3. Reviewed by: Marc Savlov
    Sep 25, 2013
    89
    It's a veritable shoo-in for an Oscar nod this year, and one of the more disturbing films to come out of a major studio in ages.