Prisoners Classic Movie Review

Classic Movie Reviews are once a week posts in which I review a movie from the past. It might have to do with a movie coming out that week or just a personal favorite of mine. These reviews may contain spoilers.

Because Sicario is getting a wide release this week, I decided to go back and look at another movie from the director, Denis Villeneuve.


I’ve watched this movie several times now and each time it’s made me want to go hug my kids and never let them out of the house again.  I don’t even have kids…

Prisoners is a kidnapping story in which the daughters of two men (played by Hugh Jackman and Terrence Howard) go missing.  A young detective (Jake Gyllenhaal) is tasked with finding them.  The movie explores exactly how far each man is willing to go to save the girls before it’s too late.

From just a synopsis it may seem like Prisoners is a pretty by the book kidnapping movie.  But it is far from it. The story is phenomenal and dives deep into the psychological thriller aspect and what each of the characters will do to get the girls back.  Hugh Jackman’s character in particular goes to very extreme and sometimes disturbing lengths at times.  Despite how disturbing some of his actions are, I personally find it hard to blame him.  And I think most fathers would do close to the same things if their daughter went missing.  Not only do I like that aspect of the story, but it also takes some interesting turns.  Just when you think you know what’s going on, the movie proves you wrong.  In addition to the great story, the acting is phenomenal. This is particularly true for Gyllenhaal and Jackman. Those guys hardly ever miss for me in a movie and this is no exception.  The directing, cinematography, and the pace are all also very good.  The movie is long at about 2 and a half hours (normally a complaint for me) but it doesn’t feel that way and keeps you invested the whole time.

There isn’t a whole lot wrong with the movie.  There are a couple minor subplots that aren’t completely wrapped up or just aren’t needed in the movie.  Some people may not like the ending even though I personally did.  I also could have used a little more backstory about the families and about Gyllenhaal’s detective, although it would have been hard to fit in with the already long runtime.

I highly recommend this movie to anyone. Although parents should be cautious because it is a very dark and realistic feeling movie which may freak you out.  Just to think there are people out there that do things like kidnap children is a little horrifying.  Those people get a -infinity/5 from me, but Prisoners gets a solid 4.5/5.

Let me know your thoughts on Prisoners in the comments.

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