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Prisoners (2013)


Average Rating: 7.3/10
Reviews Counted: 224
Fresh: 184
Rotten: 40

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

Average Rating: 7.3/10
Reviews Counted: 51
Fresh: 40
Rotten: 11

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


Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 100,935


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, … More

R (for disturbing violent content including torture, and language throughout)
Mystery & Suspense , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
Aaron Guzikowski
In Theaters:
Dec 17, 2013
Box Office:
Warner Bros. - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Prisoners

All Critics (224) | Top Critics (51) | Fresh (184) | Rotten (40) | DVD (2)

Jackman is still in his phase of high-masculine misery... The entire performance is an exclamation point, and he swings it like a baseball bat.

Full Review… | October 4, 2013
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | September 26, 2013
The New Republic
Top 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.

Full Review… | September 24, 2013
Associated Press
Top 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.

Full Review… | September 22, 2013
Top 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.

Full Review… | September 20, 2013
The Atlantic
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | September 20, 2013
Denver Post
Top Critic

Prisoners is in the best thriller traditions, but goes deeper into a reflection of one of the greatest moral dilemmas in modern society ... choosing to not only be memorable, but to matter.

Full Review… | August 4, 2014

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.

Full Review… | April 15, 2014
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.

Full Review… | March 13, 2014
Movie Mezzanine

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

Full Review… | March 13, 2014

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

Full Review… | February 6, 2014
Film Comment Magazine

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

Full Review… | December 24, 2013
Big Hollywood

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

Full Review… | December 21, 2013
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.

Full Review… | December 21, 2013
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).

Full Review… | December 21, 2013
Film School Rejects

Nicely written and acted. Genuine suspense.

Full Review… | December 18, 2013
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.

Full Review… | December 17, 2013

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

Full Review… | November 5, 2013
FILMINK (Australia)

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

Full Review… | October 27, 2013

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.

Full Review… | October 25, 2013

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.

Full Review… | October 25, 2013
Matt's Movie Reviews

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

Full Review… | October 20, 2013
ABC Radio Brisbane

...palpably ominous and unsettling...

Full Review… | October 19, 2013
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?"

Full Review… | October 18, 2013

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

Full Review… | October 17, 2013
The Standard

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

Full Review… | October 17, 2013

Audience Reviews for Prisoners

Grim, ugly and violent. Good acting but not enjoyable as a viewing experience.

jay nixon

Super Reviewer


After a man's daughter is kidnapped, he resort to torturing the police's prime suspect in order to discover her whereabouts.
As a thriller, this film follows the basic genre conventions. It's tense, mysterious, and occasionally compelling. However, it seems the film's ambitions are beyond a basic genre film. A lot of the film's exposition establishes Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) as a survivalist -- a right-wing, anti-establishmentarian -- in order to explain his extreme behavior later. But this theme remains undeveloped. I can imagine a good film that questions whether a man's personal moral compass should override the moral compass that most reasonable people agree to, but by the second act, the film devolves into torture porn and the generic dramatic questions overtake the film's philosophical musings.
Jackman has never been an impressive actor, and what depth we see in Keller comes from the script, not his performance. The same can be said of Jake Gyllenhaal, and unfortunately the plot renders Maria Bello catatonic halfway through the film. The best performance is by Paul Dano, who never fails to impress.
Overall, as a thriller, Prisoners fits the genre, but as anything more, it's close but not quite.

Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

Torture porn for the Daily Mail reader

William Sleet

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

Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

Prisoners Quotes

Keller Dover:
He's not a person anymore.
– Submitted by Tariq H (4 months ago)
Keller Dover:
We hurt him until he talks or they're going to die.
– Submitted by Frances H (4 months ago)
Detective Loki:
With all do respect Captain, go fuck yourself.
– Submitted by Moe J (10 months ago)
Alex Jones:
They didn't cry until I left them.
– Submitted by Nicole H (12 months ago)
Keller Dover:
I'm not going to have Christmas without my daughter!
Franklin Birch:
I miss my daughter to!
– Submitted by Ryan A (12 months ago)
Keller Dover:
Where is my daughter? I'm not having Christmas without my daughter!
– Submitted by Ryan A (12 months ago)

Discussion Forum

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