Review this movie
Dec 1, 2013When 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.
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.
It's nothing special really, but evolves very well, doesn't have holes as far as I perceived.
I'm not a good judge of acting, but it all seemed stellar, all characters did quite a good job in my opinion.
Perfect, just perfect, first thing I did after I watched the movie, I bought the soundtrack.
Masterly done, the style suits perfectly this kind of movie.
All in all, rating this movie as a 9 seems fair enough, but I would say its closer to 10 than it is to 8.… Expand
Nov 19, 2013I'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.
Nov 19, 2013This 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
Nov 17, 2013I 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.… Expand
Nov 14, 2013This 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
Nov 12, 2013Prisoners review
Dat script, dat acting, dat directing
As you saw in my title the script in this movie takes the main spotlight. The twists and turns, the dialogues and the right 'till the end top level suspense. All of those aspects are majorly improved by the amazing man sitting in the directors chair and the talented men acting it out in front of the camera. Especially the one and only Hugh Jackman who steals every single scene he is in. That doesn't by far mean the other actors aren't that good. Gyllenhaal and Terrence Howard both portray two desperate men perfectly.
Now to the plot which puts you in this awful situation on which two girls get abducted. A detective (Gyllenhaal) is put in charge of the case while the father of one of the girls (Jackman) takes some extreme measures. I won't go further than that to not spoil you of anything awesome (which by the way tends to be the whole movie).
Directing-wise this movie is just out there in space. By I literally don't remember looking away or blinking. I just sat there at the edge of my seat biting my fingers!
The composition of the opening shot just gave me the chills. A still shot of some creepy snowy woods with a dear walking by, while Jackman spells out "The holy father" is beautifully unsettling.
A lot of the shots are still shots. They don't shy away of lingering the shots. Props to that dude named Denis Villeneuve.
I'll throw it out there that this movie made me cringe. It is disturbing ****
The last thing I wanna point out is the ending. It has you on your knees by being a very quiet but intense scene full of some sweet sweet shots.
In the end this movie tackled all of the aspects that make a thriller great and it will definitely get itself some of those Oscar noms!
10 out of 10 baby!… Expand
Nov 6, 2013This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I have never been so emotionally invested and on the edge of my seat in any other movie before. The acting, story, directing, and writing were all brilliant. I never felt bored and waiting for the movie to end because I was so interested in what was going to happen next.
I am not one for ambiguity but I wish that the ending was told a little bit more instead of it ending with Jake hearing the whistle and beginning to investigate.… Expand
Nov 4, 2013What 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
Nov 2, 2013Positives: 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
Oct 31, 2013It 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.
Oct 29, 2013Heavy, 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
Oct 26, 2013Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners is way better than it looks in the trailer. The trailer seems to give away all the secrets of the film upfront; it portrays the film as lacking depth, but in reality, it’s just the trailer that misleads. There is much more to Prisoners than one may anticipate.
The film star’s Hugh Jackman (surprise, surprise) as Keller Dover. Jackman is having an over-exposure problem at this moment in his career. As the actor seems to appear in every other film released these days, this creates questions that shouldn’t exist like, “What is the Wolverine doing in this movie Prisoners?” Nonetheless Jackman delivers a solid, if not dimensional performance. His energy keeps the movie constantly driving forward.
The film opens with two working class families getting together to celebrate Thanksgiving. Festivities abound, but while the responsible adults of the film have their attentions focused elsewhere, their two little girls run outside to play, unchaperoned. By the time the girls’ absence is noticed, it’s too late. The girls are gone. They have been taken. The major conflict of the film then is how to get the girls back alive.
This job falls on Detective Loki, (Jake Gyllenhaal) but when Loki fails to produce results quickly enough, Keller Dover decides to take the search for the girls, and for civil justice, into his own hands. Performance-wise, Gyllenhaal as Loki is the highlight of the film. He maintains a subtle, calm composure, which contrasts Keller’s (Jackman’s) constant flying-off-the-rails. Loki shows a certain vulnerability while still being able to pull off fast-pace action sequences in an authentic, belivable way. He is very enjoyable to watch.
The actual visual experience of Villeneuve’s films is very important. His 2010 film Incendies made full use of wide and vast cinematography applied in exotic landscapes. This visual imagery captivated, but all the technique was there to serve the story, the plot developments, the characters. Incendies is a masterfully crafted tragedy and Villeneuve’s commanding technique is evident too throughout Prisoners.
Like Incendies the filters and tones that are applied to the film, as in the actual visual images on screen, are gloomy and sepia-toned. There’s not a single sunny sky, a warm day, an orderly room. Sets are designed to feel dark and empty, the best scenes use sets that play with space, showing both the abundance of vacant space for some characters, while still emphasizing the feeling of enclosure felt by others. The use of light and dark, order and disorder, space, all things that cradle the actors performances, are created by Villeneuve, expertly.
The suspense of the film continues all the way to the very end as Keller Dover’s untamed compulsion to find the missing girls leads to a perfectly executed, nail biter of an ending.… Expand
Oct 23, 2013After 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
Oct 23, 2013Despite 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
Oct 20, 2013I 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
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?
On Thanksgiving the Dover family enjoy dinner at their old friend's house, the Birches. The enjoyment levels are at an all time high, for the only time in the film, until the youngest daughter from each family disappears. The parents begin to search frantically as the cops find the chief suspect in the RV that was parked up the road. This suspect has an IQ of a ten year old and the police believe they should look elsewhere but Keller Dover thinks otherwise and instead chooses his own methods of getting truth from the suspect. Will they find the girls and who will first?
Starring Hugh Jackman as Keller Dover, Prisoners raises these intriguing issues by pitting the doting father against his daughter's potential kidnapper. As a parent you'd do anything to get those answers and in Dover's case this resorts to torture, imprisonment and fear. In opposition to that we have Jake Gyllenhaal's Detective Loki, an officer who relies on hard police work. These two may be aiming for a shared goal but ultimately they are each other's antagonist as they hunt for truth in very different ways. As an audience member it is up to you to decide which one is right.
Villeneuve's direction and Guzikowski's script squeeze the themes to tears by covering each angle and every scene in opposing morality questions. At times these are deep but at others they feel forced, such as a priest who has killed a child killer to prevent him from continuing. This is here to be bleak, depressing and full of moral issues and it doesn't let up from that. Its pace is slow, the music dreary, the cinematography grey and wet, all adding to the tone of Villeneuve's piece. The script at times may feel 'on-the-nose' but it does raise these questions through it. Is it right to kill in order to prevent a killer, even if you are a priest?
Added to the bleak tone are exceptional performances from Jackman and Gyllenhaal. Jackman portrays the grieving father with power and emotion leaving you unsure whether to route for him when he tortures the mentally confused suspect played by Paul Dano. At times his character is empathetic but at others he is frightening. This may become a problem if he was the hero to route for but instead during these scenes we promote Gyllenhaal's Loki to the forefront and it is his desperate search for the truth that we believe in. Gyllenhall also provides a wonderful performance as the Detective who suspects everyone until they are proven innocent. Both of these men can be seen as our protagonist but in reality neither of them are and instead the shared goal is what we route for. You may have a character you believe in but that all depends on which side of the fence you come down on.
All in all Prisoners is a powerful movie, oozing in contemporary and moral issues. They are all prisoners in some way or another, even those fighting to put things right. At times the script laces these issues to the max, causing a few overly uncomfortable and expositional scenes but the gorgeous cinematography, towering performances and the cold atmosphere will have you leaving the theatre questioning what your move would be if you were ever in this position. This is not for the faint hearted and if you fancy a light popcorn entertainment film than Prisoners certainly isn't it.
Rating: 4.5 5
Directing: Villeneuve keeps the story's pace slow and adds more power from doing so.
Acting: Strong performances from all involved with a star turn from Jackman.
Script: A taut script that is let down slightly by nailing the themes too neatly.
Cinematography: Deakins keeps it grey putting a shiver continually down the audience's spine.
Score: Adds to the tone and engages you fully.
Editing: Seamless. The slow pace remains constant and works.
Overall: A thought provoking story that keeps you gripped throughout.… Expand
Oct 13, 2013One 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
Oct 12, 2013well 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
Oct 11, 2013Prisoners is a masterpiece. The best performances of Hugh Jackman as well as Jake Gyllenhaal.
This movie is the first to actually keep me on the edge of my seat. Prisoners has amazing cinematography with a great use of colors. Hands down one of the best movies of the year! Definitely a potential Oscar® Winner.
The trailer tells not even an eighth of the story. I went in to the theatree expecting one thing, and got a whole two and a half hours of twists and genius ideas.
Although it's dark and somewhat scary, everyone has to see this at some point.… Expand
Oct 11, 2013This 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
Oct 10, 2013A 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
Oct 10, 2013O 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
Oct 7, 2013This 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
Oct 7, 2013I 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
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.
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.