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74

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

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8.3

Universal acclaim- based on 594 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 onHow 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
    100
    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
    91
    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
    88
    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
    75
    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
    70
    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
    63
    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
    38
    It’s preposterous schlock masquerading as art.

See all 46 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 10 out of 139
  1. Feb 3, 2014
    10
    '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'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.
    Expand
  2. Sep 20, 2013
    10
    Prisoners is a deep dark film, with a first rate cinematography, breathtaking performances, riveting editing, incredible dialog, and prettyPrisoners 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
    9
    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 andPrisoners 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 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 teachingHugh 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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  5. Jan 15, 2014
    8
    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 theI 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.
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  6. 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 "cutGood 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. Collapse
  7. Mar 31, 2014
    0
    this movie is Absolute waste of time .. i am so sorry for mark Wahlberg ..this movie is so much worse than movie 43. i am glad that i did notthis 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 139 User Reviews

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