Film Review – Prisoners

Film Reviews - PrisonersDIRECTED BY: Denis Villeneuve

STARRING: Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Terrence Howard, Paul Dano, Viola Davis, Marisa Bello and Melissa Leo


When Keller Dover’s daughter and her friend go missing, he takes matters into his own hands as the police pursue multiple leads and the pressure mounts. But just how far will this desperate father go to protect his family?

Film Reviews - Prisoners - Melissa Leo and Paul DanoThe Dover’s and the Birch’s live in your standard neighbourhood. The two families gather for Thanksgiving and their two girls, the Dover’s daughter Anna, and the Birch’s daughter Joy, leave to go to the Dover’s household to get her whistle. When the children don’t come back, the families go looking for them around the place, with the Dover’s son revealing that there was an RV outside one of the houses close to where they live that is now gone.

Once Detective Loki finds the RV with a group of police officers and Alex Jones is in it. Once Alex is released with no evidence to keep him in custody, Keller decides to take matters into his matters into his own hands in finding out where the girls are before it’s too late.

Film Review - Prisoners - Viola Davis and Terrence HowardWell a enjoyable sitting this is not, but in a good way. The film does well in balancing the sides of a parent going to great measures in order to find out where his daughter is and another that doubts the methods and risk they are taking and questioning whether it will lead to an answer at all and we also have the detective that tries to remain calm under the pressure of controlling both the case, putting the pieces together and dealing with a hurt and angry figure in Keller looking for answers, fast.

There is some excellent performances across the board, in particular in Jackman, Gyllenhaal and Dano. Jackman’s performance may not be to everyone’s taste, as Keller is blinded by his daughter going missing and having only one link, is willing to go to what seems to be any length in order to find her, even with the help friend Franklin Birch (very good performance from Terrence Howard) who begins to question their methods and if Alex even knows anything. Gyllenhaal gives a restrained performance and in my view better than Jackman’s, as he plays the emotionally disconnected Loki, who gradually becomes a slow ticking time bomb as the days pass and especially in the scene where he arrives at Bob Taylor’s (David Dasmalchian) house, that was tense as hell with that conversation between them at the door. Should be noted that Loki’s character trait of the eyes twitching may bug some people. Dano’s is as one dimensional in the film as you’ll find here but his role as the somewhat dumb/troubled Alex (That moment with walking the dog? WTF!?).

Unfortunately I felt the female actresses didn’t get much to deal with, even though Viola Davis was given more to do in terms of the story as she was brought in on what Keller and Franklin were doing, while Marisa Bello is homebound on medication once the daughter goes missing.

The reveal is something that you would probably guess or see coming but the twists and turns along the way keep you engaged for the payoff, which make it worthwhile.


A tough sitting that questions the morality of how far would you go to find your missing daughter, as well as balancing the view point of the father and the detective. The reveal is somewhat well sighted before it happens if you pay attention. Strong performances from Jackman and especially Gyllenhaal.   9/10

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