Generally favorable reviews - based on 46 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 533 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , ,
  • Summary: How far would you go to protect your family? Keller Dover is facing every parent's worst nightmare. His six-year-old daughter, Anna, is missing, together with her young friend, Joy, and as minutes turn to hours, panic sets in. The only lead is a dilapidated RV that had earlier been parked on their street. Heading the investigation, Detective Loki arrests its driver, Alex Jones, but a lack of evidence forces his release. As the police pursue multiple leads and pressure mounts, knowing his child's life is at stake the frantic Dover decides he has no choice but to take matters into his own hands. But just how far will this desperate father go to protect his family? Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 36 out of 46
  2. Negative: 1 out of 46
  1. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Sep 19, 2013
    Exciting, terrifying, worrisome stuff saturates every second of Prisoners, holding you captive, keeping you guessing until the bitter end.
  2. Reviewed by: Rodrigo Perez
    Aug 31, 2013
    The picture is often graphic and pulls no punches in its disturbing violence, but its unflinching nature gives it a memorable sear that won't soon be forgotten.
  3. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Sep 19, 2013
    Prisoners is infused with a poetic intensity that's rare in American thrillers. The closest cinematic comparisons would be "Zodiac," "In the Bedroom" and "Mystic River."
  4. Reviewed by: Peter Hartlaub
    Sep 19, 2013
    It's difficult to remember a recent movie that soared so high, before plummeting with a series of bad story choices. But the end result is still a strong piece of cinema, a failure only if you dwell on what might have been.
  5. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Sep 19, 2013
    Don’t get me wrong, I like trash just fine, and the twisty-loo, triple-abduction plot of Prisoners certainly kept me watching to the end. (You’ll figure out some of screenwriter Aaron Guzikowski’s plot twists, but not all of them.) It’s the imitation-David Fincher pretentiousness that gets on my nerves.
  6. Reviewed by: Sheila O'Malley
    Sep 20, 2013
    Aspects of Prisoners are effective, but for the most part it's rather ridiculous (despite the fact that it clearly wants to be taken super-seriously), and there's an overwrought quality to much of the acting.
  7. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Sep 19, 2013
    It’s preposterous schlock masquerading as art.

See all 46 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 10 out of 133
  1. 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.
  2. Sep 20, 2013
    Prisoners is a deep dark film, with a first rate cinematography, breathtaking performances, riveting editing, incredible dialog, and pretty much one of the best movies of all year. What makes this movie distinctive, is the opening silent sequence, the atmosphere its self, it is chilling and a gripping thriller, it is a tense talk film that kept me at the edge of my seat. It is maybe the best performance ever coming from Hugh Jackman, he is magnificent in this movie, the villains and the good ones, everyone in this movie has something wrong with them, and this is one of the things that I loved in this film. Prisoners is one of the best movies all year and highly recommended, I loved Prisoners. Expand
  3. Sep 23, 2013
    Prisoners is definitely by far one of the best crime thrillers of our generation. It is a very dark environment this film takes place in and the atmosphere is one that is cold and shocking. It attacks your core on a personal level by trying to put you in the characters' shoes, would you have done what Keller(Hugh Jackman) did to try and find his daughter, is one of the huge questions director Denis Villeneuve tries to emphasize on you and throughout you contemplate whether or not it was, which is what really got me on this film. The acting by the two leads is superb, by far my favorite Hugh Jackman role, and Jake Gyllenhaal plays the role like he has done it many times. I must say that the rest of the characters didn't really place their importance in this film besides Paul Dano, and I didn't want it to end the way it did. All in all this film was really enjoyable to watch, I'd suggest going to see this in theaters. Expand
  4. Sep 24, 2013
    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. Expand
  5. Sep 25, 2013
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The film opens with Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) hunting with his son Ralph (Dylan Minnette). He utters a prayer as the deer wanders into the audience's vision. They say amen and Ralph shoots the deer. They drive home in heavy rain, while Keller gives his son a lecture about being prepared in life. They then return to home and the family goes to their neighbours for Thanksgiving dinner. He we are introduced to the very well written characters such as Franklin Birch (Terrence Howard) and his wife Nancy (Viola Davis). Both Keller and Terrence have young daughters around the same age, and they go outside to play. Keller's daughter Anna (Erin Gerasimovich) asks her parents if she can go with Eliza (Zoe Soul), Terrence's daughter, back to her house to find her red whistle. But the family finds later she never asked her brother to come with her. They don't hear from the girls, and panic sets on.
    The girls are declared missing and it is Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) who is put on the case. He finds a man who was near girls last known location and brings him in. His name is Alex (Paul Dano) but unfortunately isn't able to tell them much else. Without evidence he is released, but Keller is certain Alex took his daughter, and he won't stop until he can find his daughter by any means necessary.
    The movie may be slow for people, but it takes its time to develop strong characters and creates a sense of realism from the performances. Hugh Jackman's character is so well done I was reminded of the desperate man performances of the past like James Stewart in Vertigo (1958) or Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven (1992). It's a very enduring character that I believe will be remembered fondly in the years to come. Another interesting performance is by Jake Gyllenhaal as Detective Loki. He's a Detective who cares about the case but is open to all possibilities as film goes on. Even his image with the slicked back hair and tattoos are rather different from the strong moral sense he exhibits.
    But aside from the performances the cinematography stands out. The director of photography, Roger Deakins, uses slow zooms and out focus backgrounds with great editing to create a unique visual experience. Visually it compares to Deakins' other work like Skyfall (2012) and No Country for Old Men (2007). In the end Prisoners work on multiple levels and is a great film to see in theatres.
  6. 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.
  7. 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 Expand

See all 133 User Reviews


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