User Score
8.3

Universal acclaim- based on 616 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 20 out of 616
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  1. Sep 20, 2013
    10
    Prisoners is a deep dark film, with a first rate cinematography, breathtaking performances, riveting editing, incredible dialog, and pretty much one of the best movies of all year. What makes this movie distinctive, is the opening silent sequence, the atmosphere its self, it is chilling and a gripping thriller, it is a tense talk film that kept me at the edge of my seat. It is maybe thePrisoners is a deep dark film, with a first rate cinematography, breathtaking performances, riveting editing, incredible dialog, and pretty much one of the best movies of all year. What makes this movie distinctive, is the opening silent sequence, the atmosphere its self, it is chilling and a gripping thriller, it is a tense talk film that kept me at the edge of my seat. It is maybe the best performance ever coming from Hugh Jackman, he is magnificent in this movie, the villains and the good ones, everyone in this movie has something wrong with them, and this is one of the things that I loved in this film. Prisoners is one of the best movies all year and highly recommended, I loved Prisoners. Expand
  2. Sep 20, 2013
    9
    Prisoners is a dark and dreary, but fantastic thriller. The acting is superb and the script has many captivating twists and turns. It could be a tad shorter, but overall one of the best films of 2013. A
  3. Sep 23, 2013
    8
    It's a long movie but an engrossing one. The first half of the movie seems to be a metaphor for Guantanamo. Impotent rage leads to torture and possibly justice but definitely injustice. And at what cost? Scattered clues lead, if read correctly, to the inevitable truth about the kidnapping of the girls, but leave open to interpretation the moral paths taken and the outcome of a majorIt's a long movie but an engrossing one. The first half of the movie seems to be a metaphor for Guantanamo. Impotent rage leads to torture and possibly justice but definitely injustice. And at what cost? Scattered clues lead, if read correctly, to the inevitable truth about the kidnapping of the girls, but leave open to interpretation the moral paths taken and the outcome of a major protagonist. The audience is manipulated hither, thither, and yon, and it's all great fun if you stay objective and quite teeth grinding if you don't. The Director borrows heavily from many sources-these days who doesn't, and who can't-and it's quite a Pot Pourri of memory lane goodies. The last shot seems to be leaving us with an open ended question: "You decide!"
    Jackman is great as a very loose cannon (Wolverine was a warmup?). Gyllenhall is all ticks and props and gimmicks. Dano is paid well for a mute, and Maria Bello is oh so wasted.

    Of course.................SPOILER................. there is one actor who is in this for an oh so obvious reason.
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  4. Mar 25, 2014
    10
    i think hoolywood sometimes makes really good movies, some of them are making you feel nervous, sky, scared, and prisoners is one of the few movies that makes that, the acitng is amazing, the cinematograohy pfffff beautifull, but the most important thing is the script, its the best script i saw.
    BEST MOVIE EVER
  5. Nov 19, 2013
    9
    From the moment the movie starts to the very last scene, Prisoner's is a gripping, involving, dark film that gives you strong performances to make it feel very scary. Your eyes will be glued to the screen in this mesmerizing thriller.
  6. Sep 24, 2013
    5
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Prisoners does not take long to start off the story, probably less than 10 minutes in, and it prolongs the story which makes a nice effect on the audience. It creates the feeling that the girls have been gone for so long, and toward the end of the film, since its so long, the audience will have lost hope. The story itself is a puzzle, and the audience almost has to put together the pieces, but in the end it does not really connect all the pieces together but rather gets lazy about it and just comes up with some random excuse as to how the kids got stolen. It has a cliff hanger ending which I hate in films, like we've been committed the past 2 and a half hours for this? Also the character development... through the film we understand the 2 main leads pretty well, Keller Dover (Jackman) and Officer Loki (Jake (his first name is easier to spell)) but we don't know who they are, you know what I mean? We get no look at Loki's personal life, or why he is driven so hard to find these girls. We get a glimpse in the first several minutes of the film of Jackman's character, a hunter, a strict parent, an ambitious worker. But so much is unexplained... It is one of those films where while watching it you are on the edge of your seat, not necessarily because of the story but because each individual scene's artistic merit creates suspense, but after the film you walk away feeling like you got absolutely nothing out of that movie. Expand
  7. Sep 23, 2013
    9
    Absolutely outstanding thriller with breathtaking atmosphere! Magnificent performance from Hugh Jackman and others, interesting scenario with some minor flaws, great characters. Conclusion one of the best picture of 2013!
  8. Oct 1, 2013
    9
    You don't have to be a parent to experience the fright that comes from watching the new film Prisoners. On my usual strut out of the theater I am asked how I liked the movie, and I give my usual answer "eh, pretty good" until my review gets posted and that person sees what I really thought. With Prisoners, I came out of the theater a little shaken, and as most people probably did, madeYou don't have to be a parent to experience the fright that comes from watching the new film Prisoners. On my usual strut out of the theater I am asked how I liked the movie, and I give my usual answer "eh, pretty good" until my review gets posted and that person sees what I really thought. With Prisoners, I came out of the theater a little shaken, and as most people probably did, made sure everything was alright every time they heard a noise in their house that night.
    The film stars Hugh Jackman as Keller Dover, but the true star is Detective Loki, played by Jake Gyllenhaal. Prisoners is the story of Hugh Jackman's family, and Terrence Howard's family, having a fun thanksgiving dinner. The parents stupidly agree and let their children play outside, and that’s where we get the title Prisoners. The trailer is a little deceptive on how this scene plays out but ultimately ends up with the same idea that the kids were kidnapped by someone in an RV.
    They find that Alex Jones (Paul Dano) was the driver, and that he basically has the IQ of a ten year old who speaks in this really high pitched mutter. As stupid as they think he is, he manages to quietly drop hints to Jackman that he has his child. Loki, a young detective, is assigned to the case and works mainly with Jackman to uncover what happened.
    The movie takes some serious turns that make you share the emotions of the characters. Some of the minor cast members instantly become huge, and new characters are introduced on screen and join the flow of the movie easily. This single film had the best acting so far in 2013 with a very strong cast. Hugh was the parent that is willing to do anything for their child, which for a lot of parents was very relatable to. It's funny though because if he cared so much about his daughter, than he wouldn't have let her essentially run around unattended, in a creepy neighborhood in the first place.
    Despite the almost two and a half hour duration, I was almost off my seat on the floor the entire time waiting to hear the dialogue from every character. I cringed many times during the disturbing scenes (there were many), and they even managed to add in a couple jump scares. This is definitely not a movie to expect to half watch and whisper with friends in; because you will miss way too many details that you realize tie in later.
    Even after thinking deeply about Prisoners, I was left with too many plot holes, which led to a lot of unanswered questions, especially with the ending. It felt a little bit like Director Denis Villeneuve thought that it wasn't worth adding even more time to the film length to fill in some details, but it might have made the movie worth its longer time.
    Though most of the events in the film will probably not happen when you think about it, you are convinced during the film. There would be an unrealistic scene followed by a disturbing one, and you would be more focused on the suspense and disturbance, then the actual facts.
    Despite the negatives, Prisoners will entertain you whether it's through the edge of your seat thrill, or the relation to your own family. The film has already won two awards and has only been out nine days, and I won't be surprised to see it earn many more in the future.
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  9. Sep 22, 2013
    9
    Prisoners is one of those movies that keeps your eyes glued to the screen throughout the whole thing, and when the movie ends, you want more. Hugh Jackman's performance is Oscar-Worthy and Jake Gyllanhaal is amazing, too. With a thought-provoking story in hand, the movie finds ways to use suspense and a great score to back it up. The movie could've been edited a little bit, but other thanPrisoners is one of those movies that keeps your eyes glued to the screen throughout the whole thing, and when the movie ends, you want more. Hugh Jackman's performance is Oscar-Worthy and Jake Gyllanhaal is amazing, too. With a thought-provoking story in hand, the movie finds ways to use suspense and a great score to back it up. The movie could've been edited a little bit, but other than that, this was a riveting drama that has a complex story at its core, and is extremely hard to forget, and is one of the best movies of 2013. Bravo. Expand
  10. Oct 2, 2013
    8
    Prisoners is a dark emotionally heavy two & half hour movie. The acting performances by Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhall are really well done. Its like Hugh Jackman is really going for an Oscar here. It was a bit on the long side and I thought a few parts of it could have been taken out without affecting the story. You really see a family suffer here and a wild journey to show what lengthsPrisoners 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
  11. Sep 26, 2013
    8
    The film was riveting for the first 2 hours with a few lapses in basic police work, but then it got silly! Here comes a spoiler A father who was willing to give up everything to get his daughter back would never have caved in so easily at the end. That annoyed me to no end, but the performances by Jackman and Gyllenhaal were superb and the film is well worth seeing but don't bringThe film was riveting for the first 2 hours with a few lapses in basic police work, but then it got silly! Here comes a spoiler A father who was willing to give up everything to get his daughter back would never have caved in so easily at the end. That annoyed me to no end, but the performances by Jackman and Gyllenhaal were superb and the film is well worth seeing but don't bring anyone squeamish! Expand
  12. Oct 7, 2013
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I absolutely LOVED this movie! It's full of suspense, and that ending! Wow! 10 of 10 for SURE!! I'd watch this movie again in a HEARTBEAT! Only thing i didn't like about it were the torture scene. Expand
  13. Oct 20, 2013
    10
    I give this film a '10' score, as I was completely captivated from the first frame to the last. However, it is not a film I could recommend easily to others. It is brutal and violent, and certain scenes are very hard to endure. This is how it was meant to play out, though, and all credit is due to its director, Denis Villeneuve, and its cast, headlined by Hugh Jackman and JakeI 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
  14. Oct 21, 2013
    10
    This movie had a crazy plot that ended up unwinding crazily like Training Day. The whole experience was pretty much just like a nuts banana. I saw it with my grandma and she actually her pants. Awesome movie.
  15. Oct 29, 2013
    8
    Brilliantly acted, written, directed. I think its one of the best thrillers in years. It does drag at times but its still very gripping, and very tense.
  16. Dec 14, 2013
    10
    Prisoners hold your attention and make you feel anxious all the time and even in the end it makes you still thinking about it, the story is also memorable and very hard to forget, Hugh Jackman comes with a amazing performance, it's one of the better movies of the year.
  17. Dec 12, 2013
    8
    risoners is an unforgettable, complex film that is beautifully shot and emotionally resonant even if it suffers from poor pacing and some unnecessary plot points.
  18. Dec 9, 2013
    9
    absolutely massive film the movie gave the emotion of losing a part of life and aside of gave the emotion of founding them there was very violence in the middle.an extra ordinary thinking motion gave in last part of the movie.it was anxious.
  19. Dec 13, 2013
    5
    Good cast not such a good movie though
    Think the trailer over hyped it for me too much
    So a 5/10 is suitable nothing special going on
    Watch it if you have nothing else to watch that is the category you put this movie in
    Hope I ain't being too harsh hehe
  20. 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.
  21. Sep 20, 2013
    9
    Prisoners is a violent and disturbing look at the blurry lines between good and bad people couched in an engaging (and unsettling) kidnapper subplot. Villeneuve’s film should have no trouble pleasing moviegoers who are up for a dark and insightful exploration of human behavior setoff by one of our culture’s most detestable criminal actions. Action fans are better off sticking with thePrisoners is a violent and disturbing look at the blurry lines between good and bad people couched in an engaging (and unsettling) kidnapper subplot. Villeneuve’s film should have no trouble pleasing moviegoers who are up for a dark and insightful exploration of human behavior setoff by one of our culture’s most detestable criminal actions. Action fans are better off sticking with the Taken series, but thriller and drama enthusiasts should find plenty of powerful performances and rich story material to make Prisoners an exhilarating and penetrating theater experience. Expand
  22. Sep 24, 2013
    9
    Fantastic film, and Jake is its heart and soul. The trailer makes it look much more dour and depressing than it actually is. It's a true thriller, and I'm excited to see it again.
  23. Sep 20, 2013
    9
    Hugh Jackman cements his position as one of top A list actors with his riveting performance in “Prisoners”. The opening scene is him teaching his son to shoot a deer and tells him “Be ready”. Keller Dover (Jackman) first appears to be a survivalist with a basement filled with shelves as part of being ready. He seems to a Right wing Conservative who has been a recovering alcoholic for nineHugh Jackman cements his position as one of top A list actors with his riveting performance in “Prisoners”. The opening scene is him teaching his son to shoot a deer and tells him “Be ready”. Keller Dover (Jackman) first appears to be a survivalist with a basement filled with shelves as part of being ready. He seems to a Right wing Conservative who has been a recovering alcoholic for nine and a half years, praying on and off but little by little your first impression changes. He and his wife, Grace, (Maria Bello) with their 6 year old daughter Anna (Erin Gerasimovich) and son Ralph (Dylan Minnette) are having Thanksgiving dinner with Franklin (Terrence Howard) and Nancy (Viola Davis) Birch their 7 year old daughter Joy (Kyla Drew Simmons) and Eliza Birch (Zoe Borde). After dinner their two young daughters go outside only to disappear.

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

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

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

    The cast is first rate but it is Hugh Jackman’s picture and he takes it to the depths that very few actors could.
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  24. Dec 9, 2013
    6
    Shot skillfully which helps add to the tension of this otherwise extremely overlong bore. The movie tries to establish too many themes with too many tangents and it adds nothing. Was the ending worth the wait, no...but I was still curious to know what happened.
  25. Oct 5, 2013
    7
    Good solid movie, a bit long and unbelievable (but aren't all movies?). Just wished the ending had been a bit more satisfying IMHO it "cut off" a bit too early. Another good movie very similar to this (without as many characters) is CHAINED directed by David Lynch's daughter. It was more believable and more gut wrenching.
  26. Sep 21, 2013
    10
    Wow! Just Wow! "Prisoners" is a dark and grimacing movie. It doesn't really show how Keller (Hugh Jackman) really wants his daughter back so to say, it shows even more grimace and more depth in the horror of what is one to do. Hugh Jackman is the heart of this story. He brings on the true grit of his character which was fantastic. I think he should get another Oscar nod. Plus it has greatWow! Just Wow! "Prisoners" is a dark and grimacing movie. It doesn't really show how Keller (Hugh Jackman) really wants his daughter back so to say, it shows even more grimace and more depth in the horror of what is one to do. Hugh Jackman is the heart of this story. He brings on the true grit of his character which was fantastic. I think he should get another Oscar nod. Plus it has great cinematography and a fantastic script to work off of. Overall, it's truly one of the best movies of the year/If not, the best movie of the year. Be sure to check out my YouTube channel "TheMovieManLife" for all things movies. Expand
  27. Sep 20, 2013
    10
    Prisoners is a riveting, potent abduction thriller with an ominous demeanor and intelligent direction that makes its dark subject matter uneasy, yet enticing to watch. The performances are also gripping and exciting, especially Hugh Jackman who gives a performance for the ages, one of memorable and award winning caliber.
  28. Sep 22, 2013
    5
    I wanted to like this movie much more than I did the actors do a fine job and the direction has its merit. Problem is that it's such a heavy-handed allegory about a post-9/11 America grappling with the ethics of revenge vs. justice, a holy war, and use/effects of "rendition"/torture against innocents and perhaps not-so-innocents. That some audience members laughed at some of the momentsI wanted to like this movie much more than I did the actors do a fine job and the direction has its merit. Problem is that it's such a heavy-handed allegory about a post-9/11 America grappling with the ethics of revenge vs. justice, a holy war, and use/effects of "rendition"/torture against innocents and perhaps not-so-innocents. That some audience members laughed at some of the moments that were meant to be terrifying convinced me either the public has developed a callous jadedness towards these very important issues or the film is clumsy in how it tackles them. This wasn't a "bad" film, just one that could've used fewer nonsensical twists-and-turns that too nicely allow an allegorical frame for what at its heart is about the terrifying idea of how innocence can be lost to random evil. Expand
  29. Sep 20, 2013
    10
    Despite using a ton of name-brand actors it has almost no hollywoodisms to an uncomfortable degree. It feels so real that it's difficult to watch. One of the tensest things I've ever seen. Beyond being a great thriller, it also engages with larger issues that have been touched on in previous films like Zero Dark Thirty and Munich, namely: even if justified, what damage does vengeance orDespite using a ton of name-brand actors it has almost no hollywoodisms to an uncomfortable degree. It feels so real that it's difficult to watch. One of the tensest things I've ever seen. Beyond being a great thriller, it also engages with larger issues that have been touched on in previous films like Zero Dark Thirty and Munich, namely: even if justified, what damage does vengeance or torture do to us as a society when we carry them out? Expand
  30. Dec 16, 2013
    7
    The lengthy run time (2 and a half hours) pushes it but as a whole, Prisoners was a pretty enjoyable film that was rather entertaining to watch. I'd recommend it.
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.