User Score
8.2

Universal acclaim- based on 501 Ratings

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

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  1. Oct 10, 2013
    7
    A very dark and intriguing film, similar to Zodiac, which asks us the question how far we could go to find our missing loved ones, in this case our children. The film is quite long and there is obviously a lot of drama, but it managed to keep me interested throughout the entire movie because the film succeeds in making the viewer feel the pain and despair of the family, partly due to a great and gritty performance by Hugh Jackman, and by making us want to uncover the truth with regard to a few characters. Are some people really as guilty or suspicious as they seem or do we judge too easily because we want to believe that there is more? Prisoners poses us this question and keeps us on the edge of our seats as it takes us on a search for answers. Expand
  2. 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.
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  3. 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..
  4. 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.
  5. Nov 2, 2013
    8
    Positives: One of the best films yet this year! Prisoners delves deep into a realm where few movies are able to take an audience. With plenty of twists and turns, along with an outstanding soundtrack and spine chilling visuals, this film will keep you on the edge of your seat nonstop.

    Negatives: Going into this movie you need to know your in for the long haul, even with a long attention
    span, the story will seem to go nowhere at points and can fatigue you with it's dark concepts. The constant depressing state and expansive plot line was nearly exhausting to watch. Expand
  6. 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.
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  7. Nov 14, 2013
    7
    This movie was put together very well. It felt a little long though even though it flowed smoothly. The chemistry between Jackman and Jyllenhaal was great. Not really knowing what the movie was about really helped too. And I love a movie you can figure out as you go if you pay attention. The ending isn't just thrown together. It almost feels like they thought out the movie backwards so everything makes perfect sense. Expand
  8. Nov 19, 2013
    5
    I'm still trying to understand how this movie got such a high rating from both users and critics .

    I hated this movie for its dragging style, irrelevant plots and a mediocre script.

    The End was not at all convincing after all jackmans character did may be there is some message in the end .but that wasn't enough to make it a good movie.
  9. 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.
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  10. 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
  11. 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.
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  12. Dec 28, 2013
    8
    Reminiscent of David Fincher's Zodiac in both length and scope, Prisoners is a disarmingly disturbing and effective drama that only gets better as it creeps along. Hugh Jackman anchors the film with an explosive performance, and Melissa Leo is award-caliber in a supporting role.
  13. 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....
  14. Dec 29, 2013
    8
    İzlediğim en iyi Dram filmlerinden bir tanesiydi, Özellikle Hugh Jackman şahane bir performans göstermiş, Acılı bir babanın yapacaklarının sınırı yoktur. ve bu filmde bunu görüyoruz
  15. 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.
  16. Jan 14, 2014
    7
    Prisoners is a pretty good film, but has its faults. The early scenes of two families dealing with the unimaginable are great, and Gyllenhall is solid as the detective. As the plot unfold, it is at once riveting, unbelievable, shocking, and hokey. I was either rolling my eyes or holding my breath. The length feels a bit unnecessary. Overall, worth a watch if you like the actors and crime films full of twists. Expand
  17. Jan 18, 2014
    8
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This movie is great, it has great suspense, that kept me on the edge of my seat, the acting is great, Hugh Jackman delivers his greatest performance, but I did had a,( in my opinion), terrible ending, but this movie is still great, and one of the year's best. Expand
  18. 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
  19. Feb 9, 2014
    3
    This movie is terrible if you like your films to make a modicum of sense. It's truly an unbelievable mess which only angered me as I watched it to its ridiculous conclusion. The cast is great, the acting is good too I just wonder why no-one was screaming at the director and asking the simple question if everyone in this town is retarded or has an IQ below that of a chimp. Like others have said it is well shot and the music is suspenseful and the core of the story is really good, but the characters are a major let down and the script was weak. There are so many holes in this that the leaps the characters make, for this film to progress its story are truly ridiculous. This was no thriller, there was no suspense and seemed pretty obvious to me despite the lengths the writers went to as an attempt to confuse the audience. Its shallow nonsense that's all I can say. It does not deserve the score it currently has (8.1).

    On the other hand if your the kind of person that believes that movies should have no real substance or that you don't understand what that means. Or your the kind of person who just wants to sit back let the movie play and wash over you while munching popcorn and having a conversation, then this film is excellent!
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  20. May 3, 2014
    8
    A great performance by Hugh Jackman, a mind-blowing story that is not that complex, a story that can be put in 1hr 45 min, but turns out that this movie is overly long, with unnecessary scenes that make this movie 2hr 30 min and slow, which brings the suspense down.
  21. 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.
  22. Mar 31, 2014
    0
    this movie is Absolute waste of time .. i am so sorry for mark Wahlberg ..this movie is so much worse than movie 43. i am glad that i did not waste my money and downloaded it for free
  23. Apr 3, 2014
    8
    PRISONERS (153 min): directed by Denis Villeneuve
    Posted by: Jessica Hinman
    While two families come together to celebrate the holiday dedicated to giving thanks, something very precious was taken from them, their daughters.
    The two girls intended to slip outside for just a few minutes, but to their family’s dismay, they never returned. The community all gathered and helped the two
    families search for their daughters. As the scenes unravel, you begin to question the probability of a fairy tale ending.
    This heart stopping, twisted crime drama appeals to the young adult and older audience because of its use of language and violent scene content. The cast consists of Jake Gyllenhaal who plays Detective Loki, Paul Dano who plays the mentally disabled suspect Alex, Terrence Howard who plays the father of the Birch family, Viola Davis who starred in the “The Help” plays the wife of Franklin Birch, and Maria Bello is the wife of Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman). When the investigation doesn’t seem to be moving quickly enough, Dover decides to take matters into his own hands. The scenes that follow make you ask yourself, “Just how far would I go to find my child?” This incredible cast takes you on a journey of emotions: from fear, to anger, to horror, and finally drops you off at guilt.
    This 153 minute movie takes its time to build you up and make you think you know exactly what is happening. Then it throws you off a cliff and says “Gotcha!”
    Prisoners is one of the best films of the year! Four stars go to this stomach-wrenching film that captures every parent’s most dreaded nightmare of losing their child.
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  24. 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.
  25. 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
  26. 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!!!!!
  27. 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.....
  28. Jun 29, 2014
    10
    Prisoners is an incredible, realistic thriller with brilliant performances. Hugh and Jake are amazing and the movie jumps from one scenario to the next. Jake, a detective is trying to find Hugh's daughter and her friend who have gone missing. They track down many leads and come up with little. They apprehend someone but they have no evidence and he won't answer their questions. Hugh knows he is the one who kidnapped the girls. Hugh then takes matters into his own hands in order to find the whereabouts of the missing girls. This movie holds your attention until the end credits, which is what I love best in movies. One of the smartest and intense dramas you'll ever see. Expand
  29. Jul 4, 2014
    8
    What's so good about "Prisoners", is that the script is very thoroughly written. The big reveal in the end does not have to be a big reveal - the film drops clues every now and then to put the viewer into the detective's role and solve the mystery before the protagonists. Also, I found Jake Gyllenhaal's performance delightfully delivered.
  30. 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.
  31. Jul 18, 2014
    5
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. A dumb and very strange detective named Loki, fights against something on his mind, we never now and even don't care about.
    A father that tries to rescue his daughter, no matter what and another one that weeps.
    Everything in this movie is boring but the worst thing about it is that they try to encourage my sympathy for a **** animal abuser !!

    At the end, Prisoners is a lower graded SVU episode.
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  32. 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.