Out Now On-Demand
Every moment matters.
Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal and Maria Bello lead this missing-persons crime thriller from the director of Incendies. Keller (Jackman) is facing every parent's worst nightmare: his six-year-old daughter, Anna, is gone without a trace. Detective Loki (Gyllenhaal) arrests the only suspect (Paul Dano), but a lack of evidence forces his release. Knowing his child's life is at stake, Keller decides he has no choice but to take matters into his own hands. How far would you go to protect your child?
Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Rating: R16 Violence, offensive language & content that may disturb
Prisoners is a pulpy crime thriller elevated to event film status by top-notch filmmakers. It outstays its welcome by a good half hour but still proves compelling, thanks in part to subject matter that practically demands emotional investment from an audience: children in peril.
A lot of attention will go to Jackman's turn as a survivalist dad driven to extremes to find his abducted daughter, and to his credit he gives it his all. But it's Gyllenhaal's performance as Detective Loki that feels the most lived in (although he does overdo it with a certain nervous twitch), and it's with him that our sympathies ultimately lie.
The central mystery that drives the movie ends up being a bit silly, stitched together from similar films that suggest every small American town houses at least one raving loony. A few of the more left-field plot turns remain puzzling once all has been revealed. But director Denis Villeneuve keeps the focus on the aftermath of the abductions, wallowing in the panic and grief and giving Jackman a chance to flex his acting muscles.
With subject matter this dreary, Prisoners can be a bit of a slog at times. Villeneuve has a point to make about people being capable of terrible things when pushed to extremes, and he makes it very bluntly, only to drop this line of thought once it's time for the big finale. Prisoners can't seem to decide what sort of film it wants to be, and so it ends up slightly muddled, engrossing enough in the moment but frustratingly insubstantial on reflection.
At The Movies (Australia)
Time Out New York
Total Film (UK)
One of the Best For Two
One of Jackman's best performances, proving he can do more than just Wolverine or the warbling Jean Valjean and has some real acting chops. Gyllenhaal is also superb in this tense thriller that will have you on the edge of your seats well after the ending.
Jackman at his best
Tense, absorbing thriller with terrific performances from the two leads. Jackman does tortured soul like no other and contrasts superbly with Gyllenhaal's, blinking, understated performance.
Prisoners is a dark and gripping thriller. The two lead performances are excellent. Hugh Jackman plays Keller Dover, who's young daughter is kidnapped at a family friend dinner. Keller, his wife Grace, played by Maria Bello, and their teenage son devastated, Keller with stop at nothing to get his daughter back. Hugh Jackman's performance is incredible and is the best I've ever seen him. Jake Gyllenhaal is amazing as Detective Loki, hired to search for the Dover family's daughter and her kidnapper. Prisoners has a grim atmosphere much like a David Fincher film. The cinematography by Roger Deakins is fantastic. Don't expect anything uplifting from Prisoners. It's very depressing yet superbly-crafted. Hugh Jackman and Terrance Howard torture Paul Dano, who they believe kidnapped their daughters. Paul Dano is not so great and the torture are gruesome and sometimes ugly to watch. Prisoners is an absorbing experience I highly recommend you see.
A very, very long episode of SVU: Special Victims Unit
Great performances and beautifully shot with excellent pacing, creating suspense and genuine thrills for what, once the movie is over, you realise is a storyline comprised of not very much. Beautiful trash.