User Score
8.2

Universal acclaim- based on 533 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 20 out of 533

Review this movie

  1. Your Score
    0 out of 10
    Rate this:
    • 10
    • 9
    • 8
    • 7
    • 6
    • 5
    • 4
    • 3
    • 2
    • 1
    • 0
    • 0
  1. Submit
  2. Check Spelling
  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
    Expand
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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? Expand
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
    Expand
  12. 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!
    Expand
  13. 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!
  14. 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.
    Expand
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. Apr 4, 2014
    10
    a realistic thriller without police with i.q 150 where just looking at the crime scene already know who the suspect was.brilliant performances and photography near perfection.
  22. 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
  23. 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.!
  24. 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
  25. 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
  26. 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!!!
  27. 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
  28. 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.
  29. 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
  30. 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
  31. 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
  32. 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
  33. 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
  34. 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.
  35. 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.
    Expand
  36. 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.
    Collapse
  37. 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.
    Expand
  38. 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.
  39. 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.
    Expand
  40. 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...........................................
  41. 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
  42. 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
  43. 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
  44. 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
  45. 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
  46. 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
  47. 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.
    Expand
  48. 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.
  49. 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.
  50. 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
  51. 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!!
  52. 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.
  53. Oct 16, 2013
    9
    'Two wrongs don't make a right' is a common phrase but with Prisoners we may have found an argument against its meaning. It raises the question of what is right and wrong when you are fighting to save a life. This is shown through faith, torture and upbringing with each character's personality questioning these themes. What is right? Who is wrong? And is it right to do wrong?

    On
    Thanksgiving the Dover family enjoy dinner at their old friend's house, the Birches. The enjoyment levels are at an all time high, for the only time in the film, until the youngest daughter from each family disappears. The parents begin to search frantically as the cops find the chief suspect in the RV that was parked up the road. This suspect has an IQ of a ten year old and the police believe they should look elsewhere but Keller Dover thinks otherwise and instead chooses his own methods of getting truth from the suspect. Will they find the girls and who will first?

    Starring Hugh Jackman as Keller Dover, Prisoners raises these intriguing issues by pitting the doting father against his daughter's potential kidnapper. As a parent you'd do anything to get those answers and in Dover's case this resorts to torture, imprisonment and fear. In opposition to that we have Jake Gyllenhaal's Detective Loki, an officer who relies on hard police work. These two may be aiming for a shared goal but ultimately they are each other's antagonist as they hunt for truth in very different ways. As an audience member it is up to you to decide which one is right.

    Villeneuve's direction and Guzikowski's script squeeze the themes to tears by covering each angle and every scene in opposing morality questions. At times these are deep but at others they feel forced, such as a priest who has killed a child killer to prevent him from continuing. This is here to be bleak, depressing and full of moral issues and it doesn't let up from that. Its pace is slow, the music dreary, the cinematography grey and wet, all adding to the tone of Villeneuve's piece. The script at times may feel 'on-the-nose' but it does raise these questions through it. Is it right to kill in order to prevent a killer, even if you are a priest?

    Added to the bleak tone are exceptional performances from Jackman and Gyllenhaal. Jackman portrays the grieving father with power and emotion leaving you unsure whether to route for him when he tortures the mentally confused suspect played by Paul Dano. At times his character is empathetic but at others he is frightening. This may become a problem if he was the hero to route for but instead during these scenes we promote Gyllenhaal's Loki to the forefront and it is his desperate search for the truth that we believe in. Gyllenhall also provides a wonderful performance as the Detective who suspects everyone until they are proven innocent. Both of these men can be seen as our protagonist but in reality neither of them are and instead the shared goal is what we route for. You may have a character you believe in but that all depends on which side of the fence you come down on.

    All in all Prisoners is a powerful movie, oozing in contemporary and moral issues. They are all prisoners in some way or another, even those fighting to put things right. At times the script laces these issues to the max, causing a few overly uncomfortable and expositional scenes but the gorgeous cinematography, towering performances and the cold atmosphere will have you leaving the theatre questioning what your move would be if you were ever in this position. This is not for the faint hearted and if you fancy a light popcorn entertainment film than Prisoners certainly isn't it.

    Rating: 4.5 5

    Directing: Villeneuve keeps the story's pace slow and adds more power from doing so.

    Acting: Strong performances from all involved with a star turn from Jackman.

    Script: A taut script that is let down slightly by nailing the themes too neatly.

    Cinematography: Deakins keeps it grey putting a shiver continually down the audience's spine.

    Score: Adds to the tone and engages you fully.

    Editing: Seamless. The slow pace remains constant and works.

    Overall: A thought provoking story that keeps you gripped throughout.
    Expand
  54. Feb 3, 2014
    9
    what can dad feel and do, If dad can not find his girl? you can follow the Hugh Jackman in this film for to understand dad emotions.. deep story perfect roles..
  55. Nov 10, 2013
    9
    Prisoners was a fantastic, deeply emotional thriller. A superb lead performance by Hugh Jackman with great support from Jake Gyllenhaal, Terrence Howard, and Viola Davis. The plot is slow at times, but it builds up to a very satisfying conclusion.
  56. Nov 6, 2013
    9
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I have never been so emotionally invested and on the edge of my seat in any other movie before. The acting, story, directing, and writing were all brilliant. I never felt bored and waiting for the movie to end because I was so interested in what was going to happen next.

    I am not one for ambiguity but I wish that the ending was told a little bit more instead of it ending with Jake hearing the whistle and beginning to investigate.
    Expand
  57. Dec 1, 2013
    9
    When you see a movie without any expectation, that's when you are able to judge it better, that's what happened with me, I had no idea what I was in for, and I really enjoyed it, what a great piece of cinema, and I should emphasis that I usually dislike "serial killer" movies and I'm not a big fan of drama.

    What was great about this movie is that each character seems human, there's no
    heroes, there's no role models for people to empathize with and cheer for, there's just a bunch of flawed people doing mistakes and innocent lives in the line.

    I find it funny that some people claim this movie to be based on tropes, on cliche characters, I guess they don't know the meaning of the words because they couldn't be more wrong. This are the kind of people that think that after thousands of films, they should be surprised from start to end, I feel sorry for them.

    Characters 9
    There's not one single character I would label as cliche, like I said before, they look like real people which suits perfectly the plot and the movie style.

    Plot/Story 7
    It's nothing special really, but evolves very well, doesn't have holes as far as I perceived.

    Acting 9
    I'm not a good judge of acting, but it all seemed stellar, all characters did quite a good job in my opinion.

    Soundtrack 10
    Perfect, just perfect, first thing I did after I watched the movie, I bought the soundtrack.

    Cinematography 10
    Masterly done, the style suits perfectly this kind of movie.

    All in all, rating this movie as a 9 seems fair enough, but I would say its closer to 10 than it is to 8.
    Expand
  58. Jul 26, 2014
    9
    The direction and the performances are absolutely amazing. I don't usually go for big acting, but it worked for me in this movie. If there's anything wrong with it it's that, in the end, it perhaps doesn't live up completely to its full potential. But even though that might mean that it misses the mark (and only barely so) of becoming an instant contemporary classic, it's still the best crime thriller in recent memory and one of my favorite films of the year. Expand
  59. Dec 29, 2013
    9
    The film, Prisoners, is a very dark and disturbing film. The actors did a great job in their roles. The parents presented with reactions that make viewers unable to help but reflect by putting themselves in their shoes, and the choices they would make if their children were kidnapped. The awkward guy with the glasses was especially amazing an unforgettable character. The film is a battle between morals and mystery. The ending was inconclusive, only leaving viewers with a question revolved around the reasoning behind the name of the film. Basically, this is a great film, and a must- watch" film of the year for me.

    Hopefully there's a sequel to answer all the unanswered questions, but could suffice without one as it is also pleasant to think deeply after a movie for a change.
    Expand
  60. Dec 28, 2013
    9
    simply awesome.may be the best movie of this year.Best Acting in a leading role huge jackman do his best.I chose him oscar for this position.O my god what a movie....!!!!
    jack gyllenhaal i was not your fan before this movie...and huge jackman too....
  61. Jan 4, 2014
    9
    Great movie with top class acting all around, the movie sticks with you after you have left the theater. One of the best movies of the year. It is a little too long but it does pay off.
  62. Jan 23, 2014
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Prisoners is an Oscar worthy film it could probably win. I 'm not sure if the movie or anyone is nominated but Gyllenhaal gives the best performance in this as Detective Loki a Twitchy,Calm Determined detective. Jackman and Terrence Howard are both friends who lose their youngest daughters from Kidnapper(s). This movie is Amazing, Dark, Gritty, and Perfect my favorite movie of 2013. People thought this movie was too predictable but i didn't especially know who the Kidnapper is I definitely only suspected the correct person minutes before that person was revealed. Anyway this is a Must See Expand
  63. May 8, 2014
    9
    Canadian director Denis Villeneuve gives us a strong film that is filled with heartbreaking moments. Jackman puts on his strongest performance yet, Gyllenhaal is just masterful.
  64. Apr 22, 2014
    9
    Prisoners is one of the most intense movies I have ever watched especially near the ending. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time with my heart racing also the whole time. I couldn't guess what was going to happen next which is why this movie was so thrilling. I am upset that this movie didn't win any Oscars as it is one of my favourites of last year and deserves Oscars. If it came out during the Oscar movie season I am sure it would have had more consideration. Expand
  65. Apr 26, 2014
    10
    Literally the best movie I have seen all year. Extremely well made, with heaps of plot twists and exciting visuals. Will definitely have you biting your nails!! Beautifully produced, loved every second of it. MUST WATCH THIS FILM!!!!!
  66. Jun 19, 2014
    10
    This movie caught me off guard...I figured here we go another kidnapping type movie but it was more than that...Hugh jackman and Jake gylanhall performance was believable a real touch home movie that will leave you guessing till the end....What a thriller...must watch...10/10.....
  67. Jul 1, 2014
    10
    This is my second favourite film of all time behind shawshank redemption, this film is just perfect, there are so many twists and the story grips you right from the start. also fantastic acting.
  68. Aug 30, 2014
    10
    Absolutely dark and atmospheric. Prisoners has tense editing and performances, which makes up for a truly disturbing viewing of a terrible situation, it has all the ingredients of greatness.
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.