Prisoners is a well-acted procedural drama that’s bogged down by its by-the-numbers script.

Prisoners have an intriguing premise that capitalizes on every parent’s fear – missing children. The film’s moral dilemmas make it emotionally complex and involving – how far would you go for your child? It also touches on religious hypocrisies – is violence justifiable by divine forgiveness?

All of this is fleshed out by strong performances from its lead characters. Hugh Jackman effectively shows Dover’s open rage and determination. He is juxtaposed with Jake Gyllenhaal’s layered performance as Loki whose steely resolve hides an angry undercurrent.

The characters pursue their own way against the backdrop of bleak cinematography. This keeps the long procedural drama tense as the film takes its twist and turns.

Unfortunately, it becomes clear that the movie’s ethical dilemmas are just bait as it proceeds to be a conventional thriller. It has generic plot twists, a contrived resolution, and a tidy ending.

While logic is guaranteed fallible in thrillers that complaining about them is useless, the film should have at least followed through with its themes. It explores violence and its consequences through its central character but doesn’t deliver a pay-off.

Prisoners is a nicely wrought cake hiding a common household knife.



Prisoners is a well-acted procedural drama that's bogged down by its by-the-numbers script.

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