Prisoners (2013) – Review

Director: Denis Villeneuve

Year: 2013

Stars: Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Terrence Howard

Prisoners is an extremely grim movie about the abduction of two young girls and then the aftermath as everyone deals with it in different ways. One girl’s mother played by Maria Bello chugs down sleeping pills and stays in bed while her husband (Hugh Jackman) decides to take matters into his own hands. It’s a movie that gets its inspiration from European TV and is all the better for it.

‘Sorry Jake, I’m just not into you’

More specifically the movie is heavily influenced by modern Scandinavian thrillers. It channels the excellent Danish television drama The Killing (or Forbrysden if you’re Danish or pretentious) so much you keep expecting some awful knitwear to appear. It’s so Scandinavian you can almost smell the minimalist furniture and hot girls.  What I’m saying is – It’s really Scandinavian.

The film tries to do alot leaving it feeling unfocussed. We get a good police procedural drama, a portrayal of parental grief, and most troubling of all a story strand that dissects the ethics of torture. The whole torture issue is pretty heavy handed and bogs the film down but it seems the makers feel it’s what sets it apart from similar types of movies.

Twilight: Part 16 – The care home years

It’s a little bit Mystic River, a whole big bit of The Killing, and overall works as a gripping missing kids drama. The performances are excellent all round, with Jackman and Gyllenhaal standing out, the cinematography gives beauty to really shitty weather and the script is pretty good. You won’t find much humour in it so be prepared for a rough ride that is better as a whodunnit rather than a political statement.

Prisoners is close to an 8 out of 10 but I stepped in dog crap on my way home from it which soured the whole experience. If you can avoid street feces then you’ll get a lot from the film.


Screenkicker Quality Index


Prisoner: Cell Block H

The Prisoner




  1. Oh great review dude, you had me in stitches at the end with that bit about the dog shit. Excellent!
    And honestly, if anyone was expecting humour from this movie then they should go stick a fork in an electrical outlet because they need to correct their wiring somehow.


  2. Lol! Nice review. You liked this more than I did (I think?). I was a bit disappointed. And I didn’t even step in dog shit! And I love Scandinavian hot girls and minimalist furniture!


  3. It’s a wonderful cast that really lays it all down on the line, helping the story move along at a good pace. Problem is, they can’t help but succumb to the conventions of that final act. Good review Mikey.


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