Film, Thrillers

After ‘Taken’, Liam Neeson became the world’s best known dad-on-a-mission. But he might have met his match in Hugh Jackman, star of this drama about a seemingly straightforward child abduction case that spirals into a disturbing moral dilemma. While ‘Taken’ was action-packed but unrealistic, ‘Prisoners’ deals with a similar subject in a far more gritty, suspenseful and harrowing fashion.

When his six-year-old daughter goes missing, Keller Dover (Jackman) transforms overnight from average suburban dad into vengeance-fuelled, whiskey-swigging, hammer-wielding maniac. Despite their shared goal, Dover finds himself at odds with the detective assigned to the case: Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal), a methodical and determined investigator. Things get seriously complicated when Dover kidnaps local weirdo Alex (Paul Dano), who he suspects is hiding the girl. The grim subject matter is heightened by the bleak, run-down smalltown setting, and the result is a fast-paced but believable thriller with Oscar-worthy performances from Jackman and Gyllenhaal. Unmissable. Ishbel Beeson

By: Ishbel Beeson


Release details

Rated: 15
Release date: Friday October 4 2013
Duration: 146 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Denis Villeneuve
Screenwriter: Aaron Guzikowski
Cast: Hugh Jackman
Jake Gyllenhaal
Viola Davis
Terrence Howard
Paul Dano
1 person listening

Depressing, with many plot problems and a really bad ending. Hugh Jackman is great and there are some intense moments but overall I was disappointed.

A dark and unforgiving Thriller that pushes the boundaries of morality. On Thanksgiving two young girls go missing. Minutes turn to hours and concern manifests into panicked hysteria. The only thing connecting the girls and their disappearance is a dilapidated RV that was spotted nearby, which too has vanished. Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) heads the investigation, pulling in the RV’s unnerving owner Alex Jones (Paul Dano) for questioning when he attempts to evade arrest. The suspect swims in suspicion, yet is freed soon after arrest due to insufficient evidence. Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman), father to one of the missing girls, is mortified by the decision. Disgusted and overwhelmed by desperation, Keller hunts down Jones and holds him captive. In a bid to extract information about the whereabouts of his child, the grief -stricken Keller plummets to dangerous depths by turning to sadistic torture tactics. Jackman’s eerily compelling portrayal of a broken man ablaze with uncontrollable intensity is unsettlingly relatable. Here you are challenged to question your own path; would your morality also crumble and succumb under such conditions? Regardless of a few confusing meanders and loose ends, intrigue and suspense are maintained throughout the weighty 153 minute sitting. The sordid story never falters, slithering on sleekly revealing key revelations at breakneck speed as the boundaries between right and wrong become blurred beyond rectification. Peppered with unsettling garish scenes to make you squirm, Villeneuve’s sick nihilistic world requires those who endure it to enter with a gut of steel. In a harrowing world consumed by despair, how do you know who the real prisoners are? How do you separate men from monsters? Daisy Crisp

Having been preceded by endless trailers for forgettable movies, and forgettable 'celebrity' actors, I was really taken by the casting of Prisoners. It's a gripping story of child abduction, extremely well acted - and not for a second would I change that casting. With a fairly fast pace, this thriller has many twists you don't expect. It's also very well photographed throughout. Having read Time Out's review for this film several weeks ago, tonight was the first time I have had time to see the movie, so I'd forgotten it was going to be 2.5hrs long. l honestly thought about 2hrs had passed as I reached for my coat ready to leave. Excellent. More like this PLEASE.

One of those films that grips you at the time but has more holes than the PGA Tour. Impressive powerhouse performance from Jackman (pity he wasn’t cast as Jack Reacher) who takes the law into his own hands. Jake Gyllenhall was excellent as the weary detective, but a lot of the supporting cast come and go with much repercussion. Over long, too, at 2hr 30 (they could have shave 30 mins easily) but some massive morale issues that play out like a little pathetically towards the end, before redeeming themselves in the final frame, almost turning it into a black comedy – which is odd as there is zero humour throughout. Nice depressing setting, too, reminiscent of ‘Se7en’. Oh, and the torture scenes are brutal. Think ‘Gone Baby Gone’ but far less glamorous. Worth a look.

Memorable, somewhat melodramatic crime thriller which scores high on mood, atmosphere and suspense but is let down by weak characterisation and scrappy plot exposition. I`m at a loss to understand so much praise being lavished on the cast; Gyllenhaal, in particular, is bland and unconvincing as the detective who always solves the case. Three and a half stars.

America, a Nation that is renowned for it's optimism and idealism gives a cinematic variation of British TV miserabilism. Totally devoid of humour, this interminable movie twists and turns and spectacularly fails to captivate us with a plot chock full of contrivances and inconsistancies, lumbering along until it's laughable climax.This mess is further hampered by Hugh Jackman giving yet another over-blown performance, think flared nostrils, rolling eyes and bellowing like buggery at anyone with a pulse. Jake 'quirky' Gyllanhal plays a cop with conscience but has dark leanings ie: dodgy tats. Also, let's not forget the nervous tic that adds pathos. The story has already been far more successfully mined by the likes of Mystic River. If unimaginative, humourless, cliche ridden entertainment is your bag then look no further but if u want elevated, thought-provoking, edge of the seat cinema go whistle.