“We have to hurt him to make him talk” Prisoners.


I have been putting off writing this review because I have mixed feelings about Prisoners. A friend and I saw it a few days ago at a Cineworld pre-screening and I was expecting an exciting, tense thriller/drama. I came out of the cinema feeling pretty depressed and unsure whether it was a pleasant experience at all.

The subject matter should have given it away really, “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?” (IMDB) Bleak doesn’t even begin to cover it. What the description should have said is “Most depressing film ever“. Safe to say it isn’t an enjoyable experience but I can’t deny that it’s a great film…


Keller is played by Hugh Jackman, a different role than I have seen before and surprisingly not very likable. He is aggressive and quite frightening in the search for his missing daughter. When one of the main suspects is released from the police station he takes it upon himself to imprison said suspect and attempts to beat the truth out of him. Jackman acts his butt off on his emotional roller-coaster and yes I did feel for his character in some parts… I say some because I don’t necessarily agree with his actions which negated the pity I had previously felt.


In the meantime, Detective Loki is on the hunt for the missing girls, apparently he has solved every case he’s been on so the pressure is on! Jake Gyllenhaal gives a fantastic performance here making Loki a very compelling character. He’s got his weird ticks and clearly has an interesting back story but unfortunately it is never explored. I wanted to see more of this character but understand that the story wasn’t really about him, (but it probably should have been!).

Prisoners-Movie-2-500x332 (1)

A pretty weak supporting character came in the form of Terrence Howard as the other abductee’s father – I didn’t care for him. But Viola Davis and Maria Bello gave good grieving mother performances. As well as Dylan Minnette playing Keller’s very frightened looking son. The main pat on the back though goes to Paul Dano playing the suspect and victim of Keller’s rampage. Very subtle and engaging performance from him, you never know whether to despise or feel sorry for his character Alex which makes the torture a confusing watch!!


The plot dangles a few carrots here and there and juggles some red herrings but nothing that felt particularly exciting. It all happens quite slowly in the 2 and a half hours it drags on for, and not in the beautiful arty way thatΒ Aint Them Bodies Saints plodded along – more like there could have been a lot more scenes on the cutting room floor. The loose ends do get tied up which should have felt like a great reveal – unfortunately by this time I had made my own mind up as to what had happened so I found the actual reveal a little disappointing in comparison and the ending left me feeling pretty frustrated!

I know deep down that Prisoners was well written, brilliantly acted and cleverly shot. But I just can’t shake the feeling I had when I left the cinema, it wasn’t a good experience for me but I can see why others would come away thinking it was brilliant.

My POV, if you enjoyed films like Seven Pounds, The Road, Requiem For a Dream or Never Let Me Go (probably the most depressing films I can think of on the spot) then this film is for you! Otherwise, I would avoid it.

PS. Remind me never to go to that part of America, it literally did not stop raining.


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13 thoughts on ““We have to hurt him to make him talk” Prisoners.

  1. CMrok93 September 27, 2013 at 7:52 pm Reply

    Good review. The cast was amazing, and made the story so much more compelling than it already was. However, it does get a bit dumb and conventional by the end, that much is true.

    • myreelpov September 29, 2013 at 8:56 am Reply

      Yeah the end let it down a little, and it did take me a few days to get over it!

  2. lukebbtt September 27, 2013 at 9:51 pm Reply

    I hope the irony of a British blogger reminding herself not to go to that part in America because it is raining is not lost on you πŸ˜‰ haha

    • myreelpov September 29, 2013 at 8:57 am Reply

      Haha! I live in Manchester too, notoriously wet!!

  3. Caz September 27, 2013 at 10:53 pm Reply

    I went to a preview screening on Monday at cineworld as well, feel pretty similar to yourself about this film as well. So depressing and not a good experience at all, I think some of the scenes were quite shocking and you just didn’t know who you were supposed to feel sorry for by the end.

    I like that you mentioned Loki’s background as we really did need to know more about him!

    • myreelpov September 29, 2013 at 8:58 am Reply

      Hey thanks for commenting! πŸ™‚ It was quite confusing wasn’t it I didn’t know who to sympathise with!

  4. Nikki Pender September 28, 2013 at 4:10 pm Reply

    good film. great actors

    • myreelpov September 29, 2013 at 8:58 am Reply

      Lol thanks for the insight Pender πŸ˜›

  5. cevans1982 October 4, 2013 at 8:53 am Reply

    Hm, not so enthusiastic about seeing this now – but great review!

    • myreelpov October 6, 2013 at 3:39 pm Reply

      Thanks, might not be the same experience for you!

  6. Hypersonic55 October 21, 2013 at 9:38 pm Reply

    Very interesting review yo, and the reason i say interesting is because you seem to have highlighted a few points that I feel the same way on. Prisoners is a good film, but personally I left the film feeling a bit depressed, but also disappointed in a way too.

    Hugh Jackman acted very well in the film, but his character was very hard to like and it shows that he can cover any kind of role. Jake Gyllenhaal was good too, but I wasn’t keen on the character’s laid back attitude the film made him look so suspicious and questionable, when in fact, he was actually a good guy doing his job. The stand out performance comes from Paul Dano, I first saw him in Ruby Sparks last year and this is such a 180 for him, his acting skills are bloody good here.

    As for you film recommendations, I rather take The Road and Seven Pounds over this, but Requiem For a Dream, bloody hell, that film, while brilliant is one of the most depressing, creepy and darkest films I’ve ever seen. Can’t go back there. 😦

    • myreelpov October 22, 2013 at 8:42 am Reply

      I know what you mean – Requiem scarred me for life I think!
      JG did confuse me in this role too, at first he was really laid back like he was huffing and puffing his way through and then he suddenly became the most dedicated cop – weird. And Jackman – great actor but didn’t care for his character in this one. Maybe that was the point of it – who is the victim? Bit too much thought maybe and it lost track.

  7. deefromthesea December 27, 2013 at 8:59 am Reply

    The guy was well brutally beaten! I did not enjoy that at all. Ugh 😦

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