Prisoners - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Prisoners Reviews

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October 20, 2017
well made and well acted movie, but long and very dreary, borderline depressing (2 viewings)
½ October 13, 2017
A very entertaining and gripping movie even for someone without kids. The twist came out of nowhere on the first viewing for me making it very worth watching.
½ October 13, 2017
Relentlessly malevolent (and probably not the picture to watch if you are the parent of small ones), this thriller nevertheless shows director Denis Villeneuve's talent at building and sustaining tension while abiding by the audience's expectations. Two families see their youngest members abducted on Thanksgiving and Jake Gyllenhaal is the police detective assigned to find the abductor and get them back. I haven't seen Taken or its sequels, so I'm not sure how this fits into the apparent genre - but parent Hugh Jackman decides to take the investigation into his own hands and his fury means that he isn't subtle. I don't think we are meant to identify with Jackman, because everything he does seems to alienate the viewer (and threaten his relationships with everyone else, including his wife, Maria Bello, and the other couple, Viola Davis and Terrence Howard). As the hunt for the abductor continues, the clues pile up, suspects are tracked down, creepiness abounds (and tends to dominate over the sadness and disgust that would otherwise be the main feeling, since we are dealing with child abduction and possible paedophilia here). You might catch a bit of a Silence of the Lambs vibe, I suppose. Gyllenhaal is dogged in his pursuit of all leads, although the police action is pretty genre-consistent at best. In the end, things do get tied up with a bow, but I've read that an even darker ending was proposed - that probably would have made for a better film.
½ October 7, 2017
Puntaje Original: 7.0

Otra obra maestra de de Denis Villeneuve. Una historia intrigante que acarrea conflictos y complejidades humanas, acompañada de notables actuaciones.
October 6, 2017
Prisoners is a powerful story built around a father trying to be the best father he can be, by doing everything he can to save his daughter. What makes this a non-cliche movie is that law enforcement comes into play (with wonderful acting by Jake Gyllenhaal) to uncover more secrets that Mr. Dover cannot figure out on his own on what happened to his daughter. This ends up working out very well in the end. It kept me on the edge of my seat! Praise the filmmakers for making such an awesome movie.
September 28, 2017
From beginning to end "Prisoners" takes ahold of you and won't let go.
September 20, 2017
Mature, dark, gritty, complex, profound and horrifyingly graphic, Hugh Jackman and Jake Gylenhaal showcase the best of their respective acting abilities by portraying a brilliantly disturbing contrast between two men who make very different choices.

The film brilliantly succeeds at being both emotionally draining and unpredictable. It's message about the consequences of sacrificing morals for a justifiable cause are both haunting and deeply disturbing, and the sheer amount of pure emotion the characters are put through will have audience members in tears by the end of the movie.

However, it is not for the weak of stomach or heart.
September 18, 2017
Brilliant film was kept enthralled throughout hugh jackman at his best and jake gyllenhaal (who i'm not usually fan of) played his part so well, only thing I felt was a let down was the end however the film overall was excellent.
September 12, 2017
I walked outta the theater shaking.
½ September 7, 2017
The plot of this movie is everything which couldn't get any better. Both lead actors's characters really fit into the story, the realistic touch really makes this movie amazing.
Jake Gyllenhaal is oscar worhy.
September 5, 2017
A dark and believable tale that is well told but one that is in need a tighter edit.
September 2, 2017
Good film throughly enjoyed it ! Characters were great ! Thrilling at best
½ August 21, 2017
(5.5 out of 6)
We are raised that a family that stays together prays together. Not to trust the world besides those who are our family. Dangers that lurk out there, we are scared of, dangers we have to protect ourselves from, dangers that we stay from clear away. What dangers these parts may bring, it's darker and hidden, but we are prepared to handle when it comes to handle when we have to become it. We are in prison ed in what we lost, what we have to live with, what changes us, what we don't know, what justice is left in this world, what we can't get back anymore. When what was taught to us to be prepared, we weren't. When what little civility we enjoyed, we no longer have anymore, a painful reminder of what was taken from us that is contained all within ourselves. We might bring those whom share in this tragedy equally, but they are not like us (high). We might bring the institutions to help, but they can do so little, when your invested in this tragedy more than they are and don't follow the rule of law to solve a mystery but our gut instinct as a patriarch of the household. When this sort of this is unearthed as common, in a small town when this sort of thing uncommonly thing doesn't happen. We are imprisoned even more with new knowledge of this happening, and we weren't even prepared. Stuck and contained in this misery, unable to get out, escape, waiting, praying, surrounded by other prisoners around us that suffer the same misery. We live to console eachother, and turn on eachother, then turn ourselves. While we say we could do better, we have to try, we have to do something, anything, we say that it isn't enough, we have to continue trying. There is so much other can do, as they have to continue on with their life, while others have to carry on with other things, responsibilities. When we say to ourselves what to do now, whether to give up, grieve, wait longer, blame each other, ourselves. When all we want is it back. We can go easy, hard on everyone and ourselves. What unearth's in us is this wild beast that we don't know existed.existed . We release what previously impridon, and imprison our civility and sanity. When we live this double life, hidden from the world, we hate it that only we know. When we have other responsibilities that we neglect to be imprisoned, what our mind is no longer reliable when it plays tricks on us or can't understand the entire truth, or when somethings play tricks on us, we don't know. We cling on to an ounce of hope. When we have breaks, tough breaks, leads, some knowledge, no knowledge, it all rattles our brain to what moral compass and direction to take. We have restraint that we always carry that tells us to wait, don't do anything irrational, think twice, trust in others, but time runs out. What goes on our minds that breaks us, when all we care is what goes on in those effected mind. What goes in those whom are sick's mind. When we cling to hope, but we reveal how dark this world is, we are haunted in our dreams and reality of this tragedy, we can't sleep. We contemplate whether we are ready for hard hitting news, when we have to handle things very delicately. When we are no different then those whom are sick in how hard we hit, that let the beasts attack one another in this civil world. Our rage over powers our logic at times. When we can no longer stop hitting or hating ourselves we no longer know how to live and go on. When we can just medicate ourselves enough to escape and not deal with it all. When we can just disappear, vanish from reality and existence with a simple drug.
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When we don't see somethings coming when we don't need to think our life is headed in such directions that we enjoy the company of our friends and family thst we don't need to feel like prisoners. When we see within a sudden moment our life turns a different direction and we are imprisoned in a moment we can't get out from. When we don't see why our mind goes different directions not knowing, we accept our new state of mind imprisoned in our own emotional & mental breakdown. When we see that we would search everywhere in every direction to free those from their prisons we wish were there to release them from. When we see trying to escape some directions we head to other directions when its the most sure thing to break out of prisons. When we see that being around certain institutions and systems any case can turn any direction whether we rely on the prison system or our own. When we see that following every lead can lead us to any direction when every clue brings us closer to breaking out of our prisons. When we do see that others deserve to head the direction towards prison when they themselves understand what threats they are if they are when let loose. When we see how such directions can lead to nowhere and living in such prisons for an eternity we can live with it. When we see some solutions that direct us away from the light is to go deeper in the dark and create our own prisons and prisoners so they know how we feel. When we see such prisons are too unbearable to take that we take a different direction on ourselves. When others see some directions have worked in the past that they get what they want by simply ubducting and imprisoning things that they couldn't get another way we don't see what others are like that can imprison more then they keep. When we see how our actions can lead to other actions that changes the direction of how life goes that can either liberate us from captivity or keep us there forever. When we dont see what we store within us while we enjoy much happiness that we experience that we dont see we also store misery when life changes our direction and the vary thing we imprison is released and the vary thing we release we imprison we dont know what we are capable of doing. When we don't see the countless lives that have been imprisoned but others reckless actions and what directions they took or what we took to say whether it was right or wrong when there is no direction as to how to handle such life changing events but to sit, wait and live with it. When we still need to see everything to its clarity to focus our attention and direct it towards any others who remain prisoners that we free them from such captivity before it's too late.
½ August 20, 2017
SCOTT: (Dr. Scott Allison, Professor of Psychology, University of Richmond) Greg, it looks like Hugh Jackman has temporarily discarded his Wolverine costume just long enough to take on a new role as a desperate father.

GREG: (Greg Smith, Founder of Agile Writers of Richmond, VA) Yes he has and he s pretty convincing in the role.

SCOTT: Prisoners opens with two families sharing a Thanksgiving dinner together. We meet Keller and Grace Dover (Hugh Jackman and Maria Bello) along with their teenage son Ralph (Dylan Minnette) and their six-year-old daughter Anna (Erin Gerasimovich). And we also meet Franklin and Nancy Birth (Terrence Howard and Viola Davis) and their young daughter Joy (Kyla Drew Simmons). After their dinner, the families discover that the two young girls are missing. Ralph remembers that the girls had earlier been interested in playing on an RV parked near their home, and soon the police, led by Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) focus their search on the RV and its owners.

GREG: Loki finds the RV and its driver is Alex (Paul Dano) who is a full grown adult but has the mental capacity of a 10-year-old. He is taken into custody but offers no clue as to the whereabouts of the girls. Also, there is no evidence of the girls in the RV. The police let him go. But Keller Dover is not convinced that Alex is ignorant of the girls location and abducts the man. Together with his friend Franklin he hides the man in an abandoned home and beats him mercilessly trying to get some clue about where to find his daughter.

SCOTT: I ll cut right to the chase. Prisoners is one of the best movies of the year. The film grabbed my attention from the opening minute and held it in earnest for 2 and a half hours. Prisoners is the most compelling movie I ve seen since The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo which came out in 2011. What explains the excellence of Prisoners? For one thing, it s riveting. We have a powerful storyline combined with the emotional anguish associated with innocent children gone missing. We witness the parallel hero journeys of two strong characters in Keller and Loki, each driven by the same goal of finding the missing girls alive yet they find themselves locking horns repeatedly. There are strong performances from the entire cast and some outstanding direction, too.

GREG: I have to agree. I was leary of a 150-minute running time, but every minute is put to good use. Detective Loki is not just dedicated, but obsessed with finding the girls. He hasn t lost a case yet and he doesn t expect to lose this one. Despite Gyllenhaal s cool exterior, his Loki is focused and intense. There is also a time limit. Keller keeps reminding Loki that children that aren t found after 7 days are rarely found alive, if they are found at all. And the days tick by with both men approaching the search in their own fashion. Loki is methodical. We get the sense that his every waking moment is focused on solving this case. We are drawn into Loki s world and his intensity is palpable.

SCOTT: Whereas Loki is caught between his incompetent boss and Keller s defiance, Keller is torn between his Christian faith and his desire to do whatever it takes to get Alex to talk. This makes for a terrific hero story, as Keller s intensity and devotion to his daughter s safety compromise his better judgment. Or so it seems. Keller cannot find it in himself to live up to his own strong Christian belief in forgiveness, and yet in an interesting twist, Keller s inability to forgive Alex leads him toward discovering the truth. One of many things I liked about Prisoners is the way it invites us to ponder interesting issues like forgiveness. Another theme is the idea of readiness for life s obstacles. Keller believes he is physically and emotionally ready for any catastrophe, and he even drills this principle to his children, but it s painfully clear that Keller isn t ready at all for what unfolds in this movie. We learn that no one can be ready for every possible setback that life throws at us.

GREG: The title of the movie is misleading. We re attracted to the movie because we think that the story is about two little girls who are prisoners. But in fact, the prisoners in this film are Loki and Keller. They re both bound to their ideals and constrained by their beliefs. Loki believes that if he follows the clues and plays within the rules then he will solve the case. And he is trapped in that belief system. When things don t work the way he thinks they should, he begins to make mistakes. But working outside the box means the system doesn t work - and he needs it to work. Keller believes that protecting his family is his sole responsibility. And it s clear that he s not able to protect his family from every eventuality. If he cannot find his daughter he will have to live with the fact that he has failed. And this is not something he can live with. This forces him to work outside the system and find his daughter by any means necessary.

SCOTT: Well said, Greg. Prisoners is one of the year s best films and contains more memorable scenes than the previous dozen movies combined which we ve reviewed. This film is a great reminder of why I love movies and how a good story can leave its audience thinking and feeling in meaningful ways. I give Prisoners 5 Reels out of 5. The parallel hero stories here were also inspired and moving. Keller and Loki are most certainly not your Hollywood-stereotypical father and cop characters, nor were their journeys predictable. They were two highly memorable characters who travel the hero arc in surprising and powerful ways. There is absolutely no chance at all that their searing experiences could fail to transform them. I give them 5 Heroes out of 5. Movie: Hero:

GREG: I agree, this is one of the best films of the year so far. I have to say that I didn t find it as rewarding as you did. I was held captive by the plot and the performances. But I wasn t satisfied that either man impacted the other. At the end of the day they were both vindicated in their own way of thinking. I don t think Detective Loki was much changed at the end of the film compared to the beginning. In fact almost nobody was much different at the end of the film. Keller was tortured by the fact that he couldn t keep his family safe from every evil thing and he became something that was far from heroic. I award Prisoners 4 Reels out of 5 for an entrancing psychological thriller and 4 out of 5 Heroes for compelling characters that kept me watching. To get to a higher rating I would want to see some interaction between Keller and Loki that would catalyze them to change in some more compelling way. Movie: Hero:
½ August 16, 2017
A really unpleasant experience with some great actors!
½ August 10, 2017
Prisoners will be a tough watch for most. Physically and emotionally draining (in all the right ways). A fantastic psychological spin on a classic abduction story, with great performances all around the board. Disturbing and heart breaking, it will get audiences questioning their own morality.
July 30, 2017
Note to all child killers, don't take Wolverines child!
July 27, 2017
Prisoners is a hard-hitting thriller that delivers gut-wrenching tension elevated by Oscar-worthy performances from both Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal.

Packed with masterful cinematography, every frame of the film is a photograph.

However the film is let down by it's often predictable narrative, slow pace and dreadfully long runtime (153 minutes).

All-in-all: Denis Villeneuve gave us all a lesson in how to direct tension.
7.8/10
½ July 22, 2017
There is no doubt that Denis Villeneuve has what it takes to make a brilliantly shot film but what really makes this thriller great is the performance of the two leads: a twitchy and ruthless detective played by Jake Gyllenhaal and a grief stricken and relentless father played by Hugh Jackman.
½ July 1, 2017
Prisioners does everything right, has a good story, great performances and a first class director. But, the film doesn´t get you in the edge of your sit, at any point
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