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Prisoners (2013 film)

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Crime, Drama, Mystery

Aaron Guzikowski

Aaron Guzikowski



Denis Villeneuve

Roger Deakins


United States

Prisoners (2013 film) movie poster

Release date
August 30, 2013 (2013-08-30) (Telluride Film Festival) September 20, 2013 (2013-09-20) (United States)

Release date
September 27, 2013 (India)

Hugh Jackman
(Keller Dover),
Jake Gyllenhaal
(Detective Loki),
Paul Dano
(Alex Jones),
Maria Bello
(Grace Dover),
Melissa Leo
(Holly Jones),
Viola Davis
(Nancy Birch)

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Every moment matters.

Prisoners official trailer 1 2013 hugh jackman jake gyllenhaal movie hd

Prisoners is a 2013 American thriller film directed by Denis Villeneuve from a screenplay written by Aaron Guzikowski. The film has an ensemble cast including Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard, Melissa Leo and Paul Dano. It is Villeneuve's first English-language feature film.


Prisoners (2013 film) movie scenes

The plot focuses on the abduction of two young girls in Pennsylvania and the subsequent search for the suspected abductor by the police. After police arrest a young suspect and release him, the father of one of the missing girls kidnaps the suspect to interrogate and torture him. The film was a financial and critical success. At the 86th Academy Awards, the film was nominated for Best Cinematography.

Prisoners (2013 film) movie scenes

Prisoners official trailer 2 2013 hugh jackman jake gyllenhaal movie hd


Prisoners (2013 film) movie scenes

In rural Pennsylvania, Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman), his wife Grace, their teenage son Ralph and young daughter Anna attend a Thanksgiving dinner at the home of their friends, Franklin and Nancy Birch (Viola Davis), their teenage daughter Eliza and young daughter Joy. The four children go for a walk in the neighborhood and approach an RV that is parked outside a house nearby. There is music playing, which suggests there is somebody inside. After dinner, Anna and Joy go missing.

Prisoners (2013 film) movie scenes

Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) is informed and starts a search. He locates the RV, which is found parked at a gas station. As police surround the vehicle, the driver, Alex Jones, starts the vehicle and crashes into a nearby tree. He is subsequently arrested and taken away. Alex has the IQ of a 10-year-old, and appears confused when being questioned at the police station. His vehicle is searched by forensics but nothing is found relating to the girls. Pursuing other leads, Loki discovers a corpse in the basement of Patrick Dunn, a priest. Dunn admits that he killed the man because the man confessed he was "waging a war against God" and had killed 16 children and said that he would kill more.

Prisoners (2013 film) movie scenes

As the search continues, Dover is informed that Jones has been released and attacks him outside the police station. Jones whispers to him, "They didn't cry until I left them." Since Loki won't re-arrest Jones, Dover abducts him, locks him up in his late father's abandoned home and tortures him—with the help of a reluctant Franklin—to force him to talk. First he beats him, but Jones says nothing. Dover ties him up in the shower and uses plywood to enclose him in the dark. He adjusts the water so the shower is either scorching hot or freezing to further torture him.

Prisoners (2013 film) movie scenes

At a candlelight vigil for the girls, Loki sees a suspicious hooded man, who flees when Loki approaches him. Later on, the man breaks into both families' houses but leaves without doing anything. Loki follows Dover to where Jones is being held prisoner but doesn't find him, as Dover fabricates a story about stopping over in the building so he's able to drink to ease his suffering without his wife knowing. A store clerk recognizes the man from a composite drawing and reports him to Loki after seeing him buying children's clothing. The suspect, Bob Taylor, is later arrested at his home, where the walls are covered in drawings of mazes. Loki then finds crates filled with maze books, live snakes, and bloodied children's clothing, including items belonging to the missing girls. They discover Taylor had himself been abducted as a child. At the police station, Taylor confesses to the abduction but during a physical altercation with Loki and two other officers, he snatches a gun and kills himself without revealing any more information. The police conclude that Taylor was a fantasist and had no involvement with the disappearances; he stole the clothes from the girls' homes and bloodied them with pig's blood to recreate abductions.

Prisoners (2013 film) movie scenes

Dover continues to torture Jones, who incoherently talks about escaping from a maze. Dover visits Jones' aunt, Holly, who tells him that Alex is the way he is because he had an accident with snakes her husband kept as pets when he was younger. She also says that she and her husband were religious until their young son died of cancer. Back at the police station, Loki becomes frustrated with getting nowhere with the case until he matches a maze Taylor drew while in custody to the maze necklace worn by the man Patrick Dunn killed in his basement.

Prisoners (2013 film) movie scenes

Suddenly, Joy Birch is found drugged but alive. Dover visits her in the hospital to ask for information. Her memories are confused but she mumbles, "You were there" to Dover. He then realizes that Joy may have heard his voice at the Jones' house when he visited Holly, and runs from the police. Loki searches for Dover at the apartment building and discovers Alex. Dover then goes back to the Jones' house to get information from Holly, but she pulls a gun on him. She explains that, before her husband left her, they abducted many children as part of their "war on God" to avenge their son's death. Alex was the first child they abducted, followed by Taylor. Holly shoots Dover in the leg and imprisons him in a concealed pit in her yard, where he finds a police whistle belonging to his daughter.

Loki goes to Holly's house to tell her that her nephew has been found. He finds a photograph of Holly's husband wearing the same maze necklace found on the body in the priest's basement, making him her missing husband. Loki finds Holly drugging Anna and they exchange gunfire: he is wounded, and Holly is killed. Loki then rushes Anna to the hospital where she reunites with her mother. Alex, revealed to be Barry Milland in the newspaper, is reunited with his parents after surviving the torture. A day later, Loki returns to the Jones' house where the authorities have begun excavating the property. As the forensic investigators depart for the night, Loki hears Dover's labored blowing on the whistle (a plea for help) from the pit.


Aaron Guzikowski wrote the script based on a short story he wrote, partially inspired by "The Tell-Tale Heart," involving "a father whose kid was struck by a hit and run driver and then puts this guy in a well in his backyard." After writing the spec many actors and directors entered and exited the project, including Christian Bale and Leonardo DiCaprio on the actors side and Antoine Fuqua and Bryan Singer on the director side. Ultimately Guzikowski would credit producer Mark Wahlberg for getting the project off its feet, stating "He was totally pivotal in getting the film made. That endorsement helped it get around."

Box office

Prisoners premiered at the 2013 Telluride Film Festival and was released theatrically in Canada and the United States on September 20, 2013. It was originally rated NC-17 by the MPAA for substantial disturbing violent content and explicit images; after being edited, it was re-rated R for disturbing violent content including torture, and language throughout. Prisoners opened in North America on September 20, 2013, in 3,260 theaters and grossed $20,817,053 in its opening weekend, averaging $6,386 per theater and ranking #1 at the box office. After 77 days in theaters, the film ended up earning $61,002,302 domestically and $61,124,385 internationally, earning a worldwide gross of $122,126,687, above its production budget of $46 million.

Critical response

Prisoners was acclaimed by film critics, who in particular praised the performance of Gyllenhaal. On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, it has a score of 81% based on 227 reviews, with a rating average of 7.3 out of 10. The site's critical consensus states: "Prisoners has an emotional complexity and a sense of dread that makes for absorbing (and disturbing) viewing." On Metacritic, another review aggregator, the film has a score of 74 out of 100 based on 46 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews."

Christopher Orr of The Atlantic wrote: "Ethical exploration or exploitation? In the end, I come down reservedly on the former side: the work done here by Jackman, Gyllenhaal, and especially Villeneuve is simply too powerful to ignore." Ed Gibbs of The Sun Herald wrote: "Not since Erskineville Kings, in 1999, has Hugh Jackman appeared so emotionally exposed on screen. It is an exceptional, Oscar-worthy performance." Peter Travers of Rolling Stone wrote that Gyllenhaal was "exceptional" and that "Villeneuve takes his unflashy time building character and revealing troubled psyches in the most unlikely of places."

The film was a second runner-up for the BlackBerry People's Choice Award at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival, behind Philomena and 12 Years a Slave. Gyllenhaal received the Best Supporting Actor of the Year Award at the 2013 Hollywood Film Festival for his "truly compelling, subtly layered" performance as Detective Loki.

Reviews were not universally positive, however. Writing in The New Republic, David Thompson declared that the film was "weary after ten minutes" and furthermore "hideous, cruel, degrading, depressing, relentless, prolonged, humorless, claustrophobic, and a mockery of any surviving tradition in which films are entertaining." A mixed review came from Sheila O'Malley of, who gave the film 2.5 stars out of a possible 4. She wrote that Jackman's performance grew "monotonous" and that the film sometimes verged on pretentiousness, but was redeemed by a few excellent suspense sequences and Gyllenhaal's performance, whose "subtlety is welcome considering all the teeth gnashing going on in other performances."


The Prisoners soundtrack, composed by Jóhann Jóhannsson, was released on September 20, 2013.


Prisoners (2013 film) Wikipedia
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