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Prisoners (2013)



Average Rating: 7.3/10
Reviews Counted: 223
Fresh: 183 | Rotten: 40

Prisoners has an emotional complexity and a sense of dread that makes for absorbing (and disturbing) viewing.


Average Rating: 7.5/10
Critic Reviews: 46
Fresh: 37 | Rotten: 9

Prisoners has an emotional complexity and a sense of dread that makes for absorbing (and disturbing) viewing.



liked it
Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 97,034

My Rating

Movie Info

PRISONERS, from Oscar (R)-nominated director Denis Villeneuve, stars Oscar (R) nominees Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal in a story that poses the question: How far would you go to protect your child? Keller Dover (Jackman) 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,


Mystery & Suspense, Drama

Aaron Guzikowski

Dec 17, 2013


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All Critics (223) | Top Critics (46) | Fresh (183) | Rotten (40) | DVD (2)

Prisoners is weary after ten minutes, and I suppose it has persuaded itself that its length is justified by its solemn gaze into the abyss.

September 26, 2013 Full Review Source: The New Republic
The New Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

In less talented hands, the story could lapse into the maudlin. But Villeneuve, director of the Oscar-nominated Incendies, seems to know just how far to go; only one moment feels less than authentic, but it would be a spoiler to mention it.

September 24, 2013 Full Review Source: Associated Press
Associated Press
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's got lofty aspirations but it also wants to wallow in the muck - to thrill you and sicken you in equal measure while also being About Something.

September 22, 2013 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Ethical exploration or exploitation? In the end, I come down reservedly on the former side: the work done here by Jackman, Gyllenhaal, and especially Villeneuve is simply too powerful to ignore.

September 20, 2013 Full Review Source: The Atlantic
The Atlantic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Prisoners is unforgettably relentless in asking moviegoers if Keller has gone too far. And, by extension, asking us how far we would go.

September 20, 2013 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A film that, for all its pretensions and intermittent power, is essentially high-grade claptrap.

September 20, 2013 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Prisoners is a devastating ordeal through the Villeneuve's impressionistic prism. It's a testament to all involved that you want to revisit the ugliness of the story for the artistry of its construction.

April 15, 2014 Full Review Source: 2UE That Movie Show
2UE That Movie Show

The film not only holds the viewer's focus to the very end, but manages to do so in a genuinely innovative yet comfortingly recognizable way.

March 13, 2014 Full Review Source: Movie Mezzanine
Movie Mezzanine

...wants to show how one heinous act creates not only victims, but more monsters.

March 13, 2014 Full Review Source: LarsenOnFilm

Prisoners -- sometimes awkwardly, for the most part persuasively -- does a delicate balancing act between outright nightmare and naturalism.

February 6, 2014 Full Review Source: Film Comment Magazine
Film Comment Magazine

Methodical, powerful and one of the year's best, this drama offers up a riveting script and a great cast.

December 24, 2013 Full Review Source: Big Hollywood
Big Hollywood

It's engaging and gut-wrenching -- without diving into an abyss of emotional torture in the name of entertainment.

December 21, 2013 Full Review Source: Willamette Week
Willamette Week

Denis Villeneuve made the Foreign Language Film Oscar nominee Incendies, but his American debut Prisoners just reheats the heavy-handed, high-gloss revenge porn of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and the aforementioned Mystic River.

December 21, 2013 Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review
Sacramento News & Review

Even the most seemingly benign scenes posses a low level of fear, and the final hour is heavy enough to leave audiences shaking (and shaken).

December 21, 2013 Full Review Source: Film School Rejects
Film School Rejects

Nicely written and acted. Genuine suspense.

December 18, 2013 Full Review Source: Movie Chambers
Movie Chambers

Like a more downbeat Zodiac, Prisoners is a rich, expansive procedural revolving around a horrible crime in which a satisfactory resolution only seems to get further away from its protagonists the more they obsess over the case.

December 17, 2013 Full Review Source: Scotsman

...a bold, brave and unforgettable slice of filmmaking that pulls you deep into the mix and doesn't let go.

November 5, 2013 Full Review Source: FILMINK (Australia)
FILMINK (Australia)

Unfolds with the sickening tension of a great police procedural, all while poking at America's social and political hypocrisies.

October 27, 2013 Full Review Source: Moviedex

It's impossible to ignore that you are looking at unspeakable cruelty which, even if justifiable, must be ruinous to the soul of the wielder. You expect that to become the theme of the film, but, astonishingly, it never does.

October 25, 2013 Full Review Source: ArtVoice

A dark, foreboding and riveting thriller, that will leave many spun by its labyrinth plot, spellbound by its strong performances and haunted by its many moral and religious complexities.

October 25, 2013 Full Review Source: Matt's Movie Reviews
Matt's Movie Reviews

He's the film's most interesting character and it's a great performance from Jake Gyllenhaal.

October 20, 2013 Full Review Source: ABC Radio Brisbane
ABC Radio Brisbane

...palpably ominous and unsettling...

October 19, 2013 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

If there is one thing above all else to recommend Prisoners, it's the way it captures that white-hot skewer of fear that must run through the heart and mind of every parent who has ever suddenly looked around them and thought, "where's my kid?"

October 18, 2013 Full Review Source: 3AW

Prisoners is haunting and will stick with you ... this is one of the best films of the year.

October 17, 2013 Full Review Source: The Standard

This moody police procedural with Jake Gyllenhaal in sublime form may be nearly three hours long, but it's worth every minute.

October 17, 2013 Full Review Source: Screenwize

Proves compelling, thanks in part to subject matter that practically demands emotional investment from an audience: children in peril.

October 17, 2013 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for Prisoners

Torture porn for the Daily Mail reader
March 25, 2014

Super Reviewer

Prisoners is a Mystery/Thriller film starring Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Terrence Howard, and Paul Dano. Prisoners is a film about two families who both of their daughters get kidnapped and both of the families with the help of the police, investigate and look for their daughters. This is a very dark, grim, and at times is a hard film to sit through. That being said, I have created a PainOmeter scale out of five (five being the worst) to inform you guys if you simply cannot take very violent and painful scenes. This will be addressed along will the film's final score. I loved this film! Hugh Jackman plays Anna's father and is the protagonist of the film. You can see how Jackman really loses his rag and does a great job as Keller Dover. There is one scene that involves Jackman doing something that I won't spoil but you will notice it and go WOW! The story is also very thought provoking and will keep you on the edge of your seat because of the direction and character building involved with this movie. Also Paul Dano who plays Alex Jones, is this weird adult with the IQ of a ten year old and is the main suspect of the investigation. I thought he nailed just the right tone of the character and was hard to "look at" at times. My favorite part of the film was surprisingly Jake Gyllenhaal's performance as the detective looking for the missing girls. Gyllenhaal still plays the role of a cop very well after all of that training for End Of Watch. Another great part of the film is that it manages to never take a rest on character building and story development. I hate when films give you time to take a break then start all over again and this film really avoids that entirely. I really have no problems with the film except for the runtime. Even though this was a great movie I just couldn't go for a perfect 5. 4 Stars 1-30-14
February 8, 2014
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

Prisoners was a great movie that seemed to get overlooked for some odd reason. Most people who didn't like it will say that it's too long or that it's too nihlistic. However, neither of those opinions seem all that valid to me. It's very much in the style of David Fincher in terms of style and pacing; it's extremely moody and slow boiling. The performances from Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal are the standouts as you'd expect, but everyone does a good job here. I enjoyed this movie not just for the strong narrative and characters, but the cinematography and attention to detail is amazing. The initial reaction to the movie as a whole can be a little jarring because it's so intense and dark, but it's definitely a soon to be cult classic once people get around to seeing it.
January 13, 2014

Super Reviewer

"Prisoners," from Quebecois filmmaker Denis Villeneuve, is a masterfully constructed slow-burn thriller that is every bit as detailed in it's fantastic scripting as it is in Roger Deakins' masterful photography.

A depressive tone and unrelenting sense of dread are hard to shake. Hugh Jackman gives a fierce, disturbing, career best turn here, and Gyllenhaal deserves an Oscar for his twitchy, intense work. He's never been better. If the film's conclusion seems a bit cold and unrewarding, it's simply because Villeneuve's film is most interested in the buildup; the dank trek through suburbia at it's most horrifying that refuses to break from it's established nihilism. Such brilliant execution and moral complexity works wonders in a film that is on a par with genre greats "Gone Baby Gone" and TV's The Killing.

"Prisoners" is a bold film that stands on it's own two feet. It is a little too long, but it's Villeneuve's dedication to "taking it slow" that renders this unrelenting picture so memorable, and one of 2013's very best.
January 9, 2014

Super Reviewer

    1. Detective Loki: With all do respect Captain, go fuck yourself.
    – Submitted by Moe J (4 months ago)
    1. Alex Jones: They didn't cry until I left them.
    – Submitted by Nicole H (6 months ago)
    1. Keller Dover: I'm not going to have Christmas without my daughter!
    2. Franklin Birch: I miss my daughter to!
    – Submitted by Ryan A (6 months ago)
    1. Keller Dover: Where is my daughter? I'm not having Christmas without my daughter!
    – Submitted by Ryan A (6 months ago)
    1. Detective Loki: I know where you're going.
    – Submitted by James J (6 months ago)
    1. Keller Dover: I don't think you are considering all the possibilities!!!
    – Submitted by James J (6 months ago)
View all quotes (12)

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December 17, 2013:
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September 22, 2013:
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Foreign Titles

  • Prisoners (DE)
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