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Universal acclaim- based on 533 Ratings

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  1. Negative: 20 out of 533

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  1. Nov 9, 2014
    The constantly riveting thriller Prisoners is an unforgettable, complex film that is beautifully shot and emotionally resonant even if it suffers from poor pacing and some unnecessary plot points.
  2. Sep 1, 2014
    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.
  3. Aug 30, 2014
    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.
  4. Jul 26, 2014
    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
  5. Jul 18, 2014
    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.
  6. Jul 4, 2014
    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.
  7. Jul 1, 2014
    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.
  8. Jun 19, 2014
    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.....
  9. May 26, 2014
    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
  10. May 25, 2014
    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.
  11. May 10, 2014
    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
  12. May 8, 2014
    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.
  13. May 3, 2014
    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.
  14. Apr 26, 2014
    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!!!!!
  15. Apr 22, 2014
    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
  16. Apr 14, 2014
    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
  17. Apr 4, 2014
    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.
  18. Apr 3, 2014
    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.
  19. Mar 31, 2014
    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
  20. Mar 28, 2014
    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
  21. Mar 25, 2014
    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.
  22. Mar 11, 2014
    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
  23. Feb 14, 2014
    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
  24. Feb 9, 2014
    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!
  25. Feb 7, 2014
    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
  26. Feb 3, 2014
    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..
  27. Feb 3, 2014
    '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.
  28. Jan 23, 2014
    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
  29. Jan 18, 2014
    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
  30. Jan 15, 2014
    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
  31. Jan 15, 2014
    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.
  32. Jan 14, 2014
    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
  33. Jan 10, 2014
    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
  34. Jan 7, 2014
    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
  35. Jan 4, 2014
    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.
  36. Jan 3, 2014
    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.
  37. Jan 2, 2014
    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
  38. Jan 2, 2014
    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
  39. Dec 29, 2013
    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
  40. Dec 29, 2013
    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.
  41. Dec 28, 2013
    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....
  42. Dec 28, 2013
    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.
  43. Dec 22, 2013
    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.
  44. Dec 21, 2013
    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.
  45. Dec 21, 2013
    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 20, 2013
    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.
  47. Dec 19, 2013
    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.
  48. Dec 19, 2013
    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.
  49. Dec 19, 2013
    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).
  50. Dec 18, 2013
    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
  51. Dec 18, 2013
    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.!
  52. Dec 18, 2013
    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...
  53. Dec 17, 2013
    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
  54. Dec 17, 2013
    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
  55. Dec 16, 2013
    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.
  56. Dec 14, 2013
    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.
  57. Dec 13, 2013
    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
  58. Dec 12, 2013
    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.
  59. Dec 9, 2013
    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.
  60. Dec 9, 2013
    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 extra ordinary thinking motion gave in last part of the was anxious.
  61. Dec 1, 2013
    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.
  62. Nov 19, 2013
    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.
  63. Nov 19, 2013
    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
  64. Nov 19, 2013
    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.
  65. Nov 17, 2013
    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.
  66. Nov 14, 2013
    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
  67. Nov 12, 2013
    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!
  68. Nov 10, 2013
    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.
  69. Nov 6, 2013
    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.
  70. Nov 4, 2013
    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
  71. Nov 2, 2013
    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
  72. Oct 31, 2013
    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.
  73. Oct 29, 2013
    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.
  74. Oct 29, 2013
    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
  75. Oct 26, 2013
    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.
  76. Oct 23, 2013
    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
  77. BKM
    Oct 23, 2013
    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
  78. Oct 22, 2013
    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.
  79. Oct 21, 2013
    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.
  80. Oct 20, 2013
    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
  81. Oct 16, 2013
    '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?

    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.
  82. Oct 13, 2013
    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
  83. Oct 12, 2013
    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
  84. Oct 11, 2013
    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.
  85. Oct 11, 2013
    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
  86. Oct 10, 2013
    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
  87. Oct 10, 2013
    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
  88. Oct 7, 2013
    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
  89. Oct 7, 2013
    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
  90. Oct 7, 2013
    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
  91. Oct 5, 2013
    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.
  92. Oct 4, 2013
    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!!
  93. Oct 2, 2013
    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
  94. Oct 1, 2013
    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.
  95. Sep 30, 2013
    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.
  96. Sep 30, 2013
    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
  97. Sep 30, 2013
    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
  98. Sep 29, 2013
    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.
  99. Sep 29, 2013
    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.
  100. Sep 29, 2013
    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

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
    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
    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
    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.