Iffy for 16+
Engrossing revenge thriller is very violent and intense.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Prisoners is a brutally intense crime thriller/revenge film starring Hugh Jackman. Characters make unthinkable choices to find their missing kids, and there's frequent bloody violence. In addition to the central kidnapping of two little girls, people are shot and killed (or kill themselves), beaten to an unrecognizable pulp, and tortured in various ways. One man shoots himself in the head, and a police officer must shoot a suspect. There's frequent strong language ("f--k," "s--t," "a--hole"), as well as excessive alcohol use by adults and some use of pills and other drugs. The movie's disturbing themes and unflinching violence make it best suited for adults and possibly some very mature teens.
- Families can talk about the popularity of revenge movies, particularly ones in which fathers take justice into their own hands to save their kids. Why do these movies speak to audiences? Do the ends ever justify the means?
- What is Prisoners saying about morality and justice? How is Keller's vigilantism depicted? Is he intended to be a sympathetic character?
- The two fathers are portrayed as foils: One is willing to do something illegal/immoral for the sake of finding his daughter, while the other doesn't want to cross any lines. Which one did you find more believable? Does the film "judge" either man?
- Discuss the role of gender in the story. Which characters acted like stereotypical men or women? Which characters twisted the traditional associations with a particular gender?
The good stuff
Messages: Sometimes otherwise moral people make murky (and even illegal) choices in order to take justice into their own hands -- particularly when their loved ones' lives are at stake. Keller tells his son that the only thing standing between a man and a sudden threat is his ability to protect himself and those he loves.
Role models: All of the parents in the movie are flawed and confused. They're desperate for their girls and in some cases feel compelled to do unthinkable things to get closer to information on their whereabouts.
What to watch for
Violence: Many scenes of bloody torture and imprisonment, including close-ups of a chained and brutally beat-up man's face, a young man who shoots himself in the head, a man forced to drink a sedative, a girl who's about to be poisoned to death, the screams and cries of victims, and police killing a criminal. A father yells angrily and curses at his son. People are shot, bludgeoned, tortured with scalding or freezing water, and imprisoned. Young girls are missing.
Sex: Two married couples are affectionate, but they usually embrace out of grief rather than passion. A very brief glimpse of a teen girl in a tub (just her head and shoulders).
Language: Frequent strong language includes "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," "bitch," "damn it," "hell," "goddamn," "oh my God," etc.
Consumerism: A few vehicle brands -- Ford Crown Victoria, Trans-Am.
Drinking, drugs and smoking: Adults drink, sometimes to excess. A priest is so drunk on whiskey that he's basically passed out on the floor, and a man who says he hasn't had a drink in nine years then starts to drink regularly. An upset mother takes sleeping pills and other prescription opiates. A kidnapper forces prisoners to consume a drug-laced drink.
Fan Reviews provided by
Worth watching... by Deego
Rock-solid performances from Jackman and Gyllenhaal help to hold the momentum in this sometimes plodding drama that, despite worthy intentions, ultimately tries a little too hard to address the enumerate moral implications of its characters' actions.
The two and a half hour run-time reflects a narrative burdened with heavy ambitions, and viewers would be forgiven for wondering how the well-worn premise warrants their attention (and their $13) if it never transcends its obvious comparisons to 2003?s Mystic River.
Despite its flaws though, Prisoners is a solid Fall drama and the deliberately-dreary visual is illuminated by equally strong supporting roles from Paul Dano, Viola Davis, Terrence Howard and Melissa Leo.
PRISONERS by castoraf
BACK TO THE GOOD OLD TIMES WHEN PLOT DOES IT ALL !
NO NEED FOR EXPLOSIONS OR SPECIAL EFFECTS.... JUST OUTSTANDING, EDGE OF YOUR SEAT PLOT!
Intense by imahood
The acting in this movie is superb. One of the best I've seen from Hugh J. Jake G. makes a perfect police detective with keen observation skills and a steely gaze. His expression seldom gives away what he is really thinking. The actors are so believable you forget who they are actors.
The movie is full of twists and turns and is not one of those movies where you can easily predict the outcome (thankfully). I found myself thinking about the movie a lot after I had seen it, still trying to piece together the entire puzzle. I would not take young children to see it, but teens would be okay. There is strong language throughout.
If you like intense drama and surprises, and superb acting, you will love this movie.
Excellent Movie! by idelle
You MUST GO! It is a gripping thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat and it WILL surprise you with the twists and turns!
Excellent cast, excellent plotline!
GO GO GO!
Kept me Prisoner by Loves Happy Endings
Keeps you on the edge of your seat with all the twists and turns. As much as I don't like a three-hour movie....this one was well worth the time.
Just who was the prisoner?? by English9
My sister had recommended this movie so we went to see it yesterday. In all honesty, it kept my attention but seemed like a long version of Criminal Minds.
What I found good was the realistic portrayal of the mothers' grief. The person who portrayed Alex did a fantastic job. The reason I called this entry JUST WHO WAS THE PRISONER> is because it was not just the two little girls The father was a prisoner of his own convictions.
The other father was a prisoner of his inability to stand up for his beliefs.
The detective was prisoner of his emotions.
I did enjoy the relationship between the two families as one was black and the other white.
This is not a movie for younger patrons.
Stay away at all costs ! by mflowers200
I went to this movies because it was the highest rated movie available at the time I went, but oh what a mistake !! This movie is depressing and disturbing. Very close to one of the worst movies I have ever seen. And the ending makes it even worse. Everyone on the audience moaned when it was over. If you have ever had children, don't go. If you are even slightly claustrophobic, don't go. If you know anyone that is mentally challenged, don't go. If you are a human being with any sort of compassion for other human beings, don't go. I will admit that the movie is well made and that some of the acting is very good, but that still is not an excuse for going. Just stay away. You will kick yourself if you do go !
Captivating by spimenta25
Full of intensity, this film keeps your attention throughout. Great acting, along with a good plot. A movie without a sex-scene leaves me impressed - didn't need any fillers to sell. Personally, I wanted to see further into the ending, but still a great movie overall.
I love Jake and Hugh but... by tomorrow2
Sorry I love Jake and Hugh but this one just didn't do it for me. It was long, left out details to the story plot and the end was the worst. Wait till it comes out on Redbox.
I Felt like a prisoner at this movie by jcollum68
First of all, many professionals critics gave this movie a 100. They should have their rights to review movies revoked immediately. This movie was way way way too long. Good concept, good acting, just needed to be 1 hr 45 min and not 2 hr 20 min. I wanted to get up and leave a few times. By the end, I only felt apathy. It was ok, but seriously, this movie should get a 55-65 rating. There are few movies over 2 hours that can pull it off and this was NOT one of them.
Watch it on video, it is good for that, but anyone that says this is a "go" or a "must go," in my opinion, is not a very good movie critic. It was simply not very entertaining.