Prisoners – Movie Review


I first read the review of Prisoners in Jordan and Eddie (The Movie Guys) blog [Link to post] which piqued my interest given that I already had a copy of the movie with me. I decided to watch the movie and it did not disappoint me at all. In fact, it probably rates as one of the best thriller movies that I have seen in a long time, and for whatever reason it reminded me of Gone Baby Gone [Link to review] which I had seen 5 yrs ago on almost exactly the same date 😀  That movie also dealt with a missing girl and how coincidental can that be.

A short summary of the movie itself is provided below and is completely spoiler free.

Keller Dover’s (Hugh Jackman) Thanksgiving is spoilt when his daughter Anna and his neighbor’s daughter Joy go missing. Detective Loki (Jake Gylenhall) apprehends the suspicious RV which had been parked in the neighborhood when the girls disappeared. The driver of the RV Alex Jones (Paul Dano) tries to escape but is taken into police custody, where it pans out that he only has an IQ of a ten year old and is release due to lack of evidence.

Alex Jones being questioned by Detective Loki
Alex Jones being questioned by Detective Loki
Keller intimidating Alex Jones
Keller intimidating Alex Jones

Keller however is not convinced that Alex is innocent and goes on to kidnap and torture him with the intention of finding out where the girls have been taken to. In the meantime Loki pursues another thread of investigation which involves a man sneaking up to the girls’ homes at night and purchasing children’s clothes at a supermarket. This leads him to Bob Taylor at his home. However, that also ends up in a dead end, which also involved an elaborate set up for a hoax.

What happens for the rest of the movie is not something that I intend to give away in this review as it will completely spoil the entire movie for any of you interested in watching this movie. Suffice to say that the movie does not disappoint on any counts.

What I loved about this movie is the fact that unlike action based thrillers which have the clichéd car chases, high octane action sequences, etc, this movie takes its time to build the situations, the characters, their motivations. There are no Easter Eggs and crazy twists and turns happening all of a sudden and almost every sequence in the movie is properly set up and planned and presented properly.

Keller talking to Detective Loki
Keller talking to Detective Loki

Both Hugh Jackman, as the distressed father who will go to any length to find his daughter, and Jake Gylenhall, a cop who will pretty much do anything to solve the case on hand portray their characters wonderfully well. Jackman in this role shows a level of quiet intensity which unlike his Wolverine characters, he does not brashly display by slashing up all and sundry around him. In this movie his intensity is quiet and menacing at its worst and some of the things he does to get his daughters back is far from being condonable.

Gylenhall for his part threatens to walk away with the acting honors in the role of the OCD affected cop. The way he keeps twitching his eyes whenever he blinks is something that I thought added a brilliant touch to the character. His performance makes you want him to be the investigating officer for any crime committed against you or your family. The tenacity with which he investigates leads, the commitment to unraveling the mystery, all of these are displayed by him wonderfully well in this movie.

This movie in my opinion could well turn out to be the sleeper hit of the year, at least in the thriller movie genre. Watch it, if you enjoy a nail biting thriller which keeps you guessing till the very end. But be warned, watching it requires bucket loads of patience as the plots develops slowly and at its own pace, which explains the running time of 2.5 hrs.

Related links

IMDB Link            Box Office Mojo Link      Metacritic Link   Rotten Tomatoes Link



15 thoughts on “Prisoners – Movie Review

  1. I like this one a bit less than you do, mostly because I think there’s a significant, and unsatisfying tonal shift about halfway through, but I agree it is definitely worth a watch. There is a lot to really like about this movie.

    1. @jjames36, if you are referring to the point from where Hugh Jackman’s character starts taking serious steps to recover his daughter, then yes, I agree that is a significant tonal shift, but was it unsatisfying, I don’t know. Thanks for reading the review and taking the time out to let me know your thoughts.

      1. No. I’m referring to the fact the first half of this film is all about character and theme. The second half is all about plot, as we speed through red herrings, a massive twist and feel good turns. The characters get set to the side in the second half of the movie.

        And in my opinion the characters are the best part about this one, so that shift is disappointing, at least to me. Obviously didn’t bother you, though – which is great!

      2. @jjames36, hmm interesting, I didn’t quite think of it that way, and yes, we don’t see Loki’s obsessive behavior as much, nor do we see Keller going all out during the second half. It was almost like the Director wanted to wrap up the proceedings.

      3. Almost. Except that he and writer Guzikowski spend so much time showing us a red herring that the movie is still very long, which means they don’t even wrap things up all that well. 🙂

        I mean Prisoners isn’t bad in anyway. But it was so close to great that I still find it a tad disappointing.

      4. <strong>@jjames36, true 🙂 this movie just missed the cut on becoming a ‘great movie’ just because of some of these minor irritants, didn’t it? 🙂

      1. @jordanandeddie, I absolutely enjoyed the movie, and yes, thanks a lot for that cool review which did inspire me to check it out 😉

  2. Nice review. It is some very dark material, but you pay attention more to the story because of that reason, and just hope that everybody here makes it out alive.

    1. @CMrok93, yes some portions of the movie are quite dark, and have to agree with you when you say that these portions make it all the more compelling

  3. I think frustrated is a good word when explaining this movie, I went from being hooked to hanging on at the end, I thought I was witnessing something special based on the first 30 minutes,I don’t mind long films but
    you could have easily have cut an hour out of this film and had a much better ride.

  4. Great review. I’m actually surprised that this one didn’t resonate more with commercial audiences and various awards programs. I loved the hell out of it, and assumed it’d stick around longer. Damn shame.

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