Directed by Denis Villeneuve, Prisoners is an American thriller based on a screenplay written by Aaron Guzikowski.
With an incredible ensemble cast including Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard, Melissa Leo, and Paul Dano, the film meticulously details every family's worst nightmare.
A child abduction.
What Is Prisoners About?
It's Thanksgiving and the Dover family has headed to the their neighbours, the Birch's, for dinner. As the families are kicking back and enjoying themselves, their two daughters, Joy and Anna decide to head back to the other house to pick up a red whistle.
And then they disappear.
And so begins Prisoners, an un-nerving psychological thriller that is every parent's worst nightmare.
Once the girls have been reported missing, in steps Detective Loki, played by Jake Gyllenhaal (Source Code).
With a cool, calm demeanour, he begins the hunt for the number one suspect. That, as it turns out, is a man called Alex Jones.
Seen earlier in the day driving a beat-up camper van, he becomes the only suspect and most likely man to have kidnapped the children. The problem with Alex is that he has the mental capacity of a 10-year-old.
With little or no information to go on, the police must let him go. But Keller Dover, played by Hugh Jackman, is utterly convinced he knows where the girls are and decides to take matters into his own hands.
He sets in motion a plan to make Alex talk and as the days pass and his frustration and grief grow, so too does his willingness to do whatever it takes to get his daughter back.
In the mean time, the thoroughly switched on Detective Loki is pursuing all avenues of inquiry. He even stumbles across evidence of a similar crime that took place 26 years earlier.
But time is running out, and the desperation is palpable. Who kidnapped the girls? Are they still alive? Will they ever be found?
Prisoners Official Trailer
Is Prisoners Worth Watching?
Prisoners is an incredible thriller. It evokes a permanent sense of dread that makes for both absorbing and disturbing viewing.
It is edge-of-the-seat stuff and although it runs at more than two and a half hours, none of that time is wasted.
The cast performances are electric and Hugh Jackman is utterly relatable as a man on the edge. Paul Dano is outstanding as the challenged Alex Jones.
The supporting cast of Viola Davis, Terrence Howard, Dylan Minette (The Open House) and Maria Bello round off the movie with engaging roles of sympathetic parents who are willing to overlook even the most disturbing actions if it means finding their children.
And if you can't get enough of Hugh Jackman, check him out in Chappie – review here!
Is Prisoners Based On A True Story?
No, Prisoners is not a true story. It was written by Aaron Guzikowski and is based on a short story he wrote.
That short story was about a father whose child is struck by a hit-and-run driver, and then the father puts the culprit in a well in his backyard.
It was inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's “The Tell-Tale Heart“.
Prisoners Movie Cast
Hugh Jackman as Keller Dover
Jake Gyllenhaal as Detective Loki
Viola Davis as Nancy Birch
Maria Bello as Grace Dover
Terrence Howard as Franklin Birch
Melissa Leo as Holly Jones
Paul Dano as Alex Jones
Dennis Christopher as Mr. Jones
Dylan Minnette as Ralph Dover
Brad James as Officer Carter
Zoë Soul as Eliza Birch
Erin Gerasimovich as Anna Dover
Kyla-Drew Simmons as Joy Birch
Wayne Duvall as Captain Richard O'Malley
Len Cariou as Father Patrick Dunn
David Dastmalchian as Bob Taylor