Movie Review: Prisoners (2013)

Synopsis: Keller Dover and his family are celebrating Thanksgiving with another family when his daughter, Anna, and her friend, Joy, go missing. Keller suspects they were kidnapped by a man driving an RV but, when the man, Alex, is found by the police, they can find no evidence supporting Keller's theory, forcing him to take matters into his own when the lead investigator, Det. Loki, looks at other suspects.

Who's in it? The movie stars Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Maria Bello and Paul Dano.


Review: My wife remembered she still had two library movies we hadn't watched yet and were due back soon. So, even though this film was quite a bit longer (2 1/2 hours) than we would normally prefer on a Sunday evening, we ended up watching it. Overall, it ended up being an OK film.

I think the thing I liked best about this movie was the overall mystery surrounding Anna (Erin Gerasimovich) and Joy (Kyla-Drew Simmons) disappearing. Alex (Dano) was in the neighborhood at the time the abduction happened and tried to flee from the police. However, in addition to there being no evidence they were in his RV, his lack of mental capacity did make the theory seem unlikely (though the movie never does explain how a guy with the IQ of a 10-year-old got a driver's license)

I was also somewhat intrigued with Loki's (Gyllenhaal) secondary case involving a dead body in a convicted sex offender's basement. Since it was a movie, I (correctly) assumed it was somehow related to the abduction, especially since the victim supposedly confessed to killing multiple children before he died. The connection, however, wasn't overly clear considering the deceased had clearly been dead for some time and couldn't have possibly been the kidnapper or an accomplice.

Keller's abduction and torture of Alex added a unique element to the movie by creating mixed feelings for a character that we should have been rooting for. As a dad, I could kind of see where he was coming from but, at the same time, he was crossing a lot of lines I am confident saying I would not cross, and it didn't seem like something the police could just overlook either, especially when it seemed even more clear Alex wasn't the guy.

My wife and I did think the movie seemed a little too dragged out at times, especially when it shifted the focus to things that really weren't important to the plot, such as Keller's obsession with being prepared (including the well-supplied bunker he had in his basement). Even the torture scenes seemed to be longer than needed and I think the film could have easily been up to an hour shorter without it having any real impact on the overall plot.

Final Opinion: Overall, it's a good movie and I did enjoy watching it. I do, however, feel it would have been better had a little more been left on the cutting room floor.

My Grade: B+

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