Prisoners – Gripping, Raw and Chilling. A must watch. [REVIEW]

As this is a crime thriller I will avoid any spoilers!

So I’ve been a little quiet on here recently … things have been crazy at work and I just haven’t found the time to get to the cinema, let alone sit down to write a review!

Now, after 2 weeks away I was starting to get strong withdrawal symptoms and headed back to the silver screen.

And Prisoners – wow. Man I am EXHAUSTED!


Hugh Jackman plays Keller Dover – a man whose daughter and her friend are mysteriously abducted on thanksgiving. Keller is obviously torn up, and vows to do anything to find the girls. Jake Gyllenhaal play Detective Loki, the cop tasked with finding the girls, within the parameters of the law. Taking another police role shortly after End of Watch, Gyllenhaal plays this character phenomenally again, although quite differently to Brian Taylor. It is little things that Gyllenhaal does that makes the character his own, from the way he holds himself differently to other roles he has performed, and developing a noticeable twitchy blink – just makes the character seem as though he is real – rather than a role being played by an actor.

Jackman is fabulous as ever –  sheer anger, to depression, to cunningness to utter helplessness, he really delivers an incredibly raw, and completely believable performance.


However, the praise shouldn’t just sit with the acting. The writing is fantastic, and the story is very deep – and will no doubt have you questioning your own  moral standpoint at numerous points throughout.What is great about this film, that it is a lot of the time difficult to watch, yet I couldn’t look away. It is difficult to judge Jackman’s character as he tirelessly struggles to find his daughter – you may on the surface disagree with the way he is operating, and you probably should – but still, you can understand it. You just don’t know how you would act in a situation like this.  This is a man who has lost everything, and needs to get it back at all costs. A man who feels he has let down his family by not protecting them, needing to take back from those who have taken from him. I can’t support Keller’s methods – but I understand him.

And that is what is great about this film. It is very real. Often all too chillingly real. A scene between Jackman and his wife sums it up well –  she is distraught, he tries to calm her down whilst holding himself together and she says to him “You made us feel so safe – you said you could protect us against anything”. This seems harsh – and it is. But in the heat of the moment, when you’re not thinking straight and looking to shift blame – it is the kind of irrational thing that a person would say in that situation. Of course Keller couldn’t have stopped it, no one could have – but in that moment she feels he should have. And it is believable.

My only complaint is that I had pieced the main part of the puzzle together, way over an hour before the end of the film, if not before (the film is quite long, I cannot remember the exact timing of the scene where it clicked – I won’t say the scene as if you haven’t watched I don’t want you looking out for it!). No I hadn’t worked out every little detail, but I had figured it out. Although that’s just me – my cinema buddy didn’t figure it out until right near the ending – so don’t be put off by that. And even if you do figure it out early – it doesn’t matter, it is still gripping, chilling and incredibly tense right until the credits role.

Running at two and a half hours this movie sent me on a whirlwind of emotion and had me in suspense from the word go.  It has been quite a while since I have been so on on edge in the cinema! A lot of this is down to the score, as well as the acting and directing. Every good thriller needs a top notch score – and Prisoners has just that. The perfect tone and pace is placed into every scene necessary – building and building the tension.

Some light relief was  given when the sound cut out in the cinema – just at a section towards the ending, when plot points were being confirmed – absolutely the worst possible timing! But while it was being restored and set back in the right place, it did allow me to take a much needed breath, after 2 hours and 15 minutes of holding it!, before diving straight back in.

It is no exaggeration when I say that this film has left me exhausted! It is long, and very emotionally draining.

But it is well worth your time, and you will be glad you invested your time in it. A first class crime thriller, that is a must watch for fans of the genre.

A strong 8/10 for Prisoners. A great job all round.


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