Movie Review for Prisoners

Prisoners prisoners

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Maria Bello, Viola Davis, Terrence Howard, Melissa Leo, Paul Dano

Directed by: Denis Villeneuve

Rated: R

Run Time: 153 mins

Genre: Crime/ Drama/ Thriller

Opens September 20th


By Lisa Minzey of The Reel


Hey Phoenix Film Fans! Opening this week is the crime drama “Prisoners” starring Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Terrance Howard and Melissa Leo. This film had gone through multiple stars attached before it started filming, such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Jessica Chastain, Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale. Despite all the cast changes/ rumors, how well does the final cast perform in the final cut?


In a quiet Pennsylvania suburb, families gather together to celebrate and give thanks on this particular Thanksgiving holiday.  Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman), his wife Grace (Maria Bello) and their two children Ralph (Dylan Minnette) and Anna (Erin Gerasimovich) are spending their holiday with neighbors, the Birch family. Franklin Birch (Terrence Howard) and Keller go back many years to their high school days. Nancy Birch (Viola Davis) has prepared a large meal and while it’s still cooking their young daughters want to go outside. The parents agree only if they are supervised by their older siblings.

While on their neighborhood stroll, Anna and Joy Birch (Kyla Drew Simmons) see an old trailer and want to play on it. Ralph and Eliza Birch (Zoe Borde) pull their younger siblings away after realizing there is someone inside.

After dinner,  Anna and Joy beg to go back to the Keller’s house down the street to look for a red whistle that Anna lost a few weeks ago. The parents allow them to leave, not realizing they were unsupervised.  After realizing the girls never returned, all the family members go into a full-panic mode trying to find their daughters. Ralph remembers seeing the camper the girls were playing on, so the police are notified, issuing a countywide manhunt for this recreational vehicle.

Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) is the first detective on the scene when they find the trailer and the suspect they apprehend, Alex Jones (Paul Dano) is refusing to speak, or rather giving the impression that he may know more or less than he really does.

When Detective Loki is not able to get anywhere with Jones, Keller Dover takes matters into his own hands by doing extra investigative work on his own. With each passing day,  the likelihood that their daughters will be found grows slimmer; will Dover find the girls before Loki? Or is this kidnapping part of a much more twisted, complicated kidnapping ring stretching over the past few decades?

What could be a predictable story with an impressive cast to bill, “Prisoners” is more of a character study film, rich with complexity and raw emotion that really shines on screen. The only downside to this film is the extended run time which clocks in around two hours and forty minutes. Director Denis Villeneuve does an excellent job of guiding his cast into some pretty dark emotional places that one would never wish on their worst enemy to experience, which make for compelling performances from the entire cast. Standout performances from Hugh Jackman, Paul Dano and Melissa Leo are the most powerful of the film The storyline was slightly predictable, but there was so many different plot points that if you are not paying attention to may be confusing the further you get into the film, so pay attention to everything. Be sure to catch “Prisoners” when it opens in theaters nationwide starting Friday September 20, 2013.