Movies, Reviews, Trailer
Comments 2

‘Prisoners’: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

A few weeks ago I saw Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners starring Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Terrence Howard and Melissa Leo. The trailer was very well done and I had high hopes for something truly terrifying and thrilling. What I found, instead, was a complete contradiction. On the one hand, Prisoners is particularly well done – shot spectacularly in a starkly beautiful location with a great cast and performances. On the other hand, it’s long. Far too long. And it plays with drama the way a Lifetime or Hallmark movie would.

But because I was a production undergrad and understand what it’s like to put your heart and soul into a project, it’s difficult for me to sit down and write a scathing review. The only movie that was bad enough for me to review “meanly” was Joshua Michael Stern’s Jobs starring Ashton Kutcher (read my review here). But after watching Prisoners, I left the theater confused. I expected something so wonderful, but what I discovered fell flat.

Because Prisoners redeems itself in some ways, I found myself jotting down what essentially became a “pros & cons” list – trying to sort my thoughts in order to figure out exactly how I felt about this dark and confused crime thriller.



  • Beautiful location
  • Great cast (especially Paul Dano)
  • Stunning cinematography that lends itself to the story’s theme
  • The entire cast does a pretty good job in their roles
  • It kept me on the edge of my seat…some of the time…
  • Melissa Leo and Paul Dano are really good at being weird/creepy/scary/strange/mysterious
  • Story arc/theme of Hugh Jackman’s character essentially becoming the “bad guy” is interesting


  • Too long
  • Very dramatic and drawn out
  • Lots of religious symbolism, to the point of being cheesy
  • Too long
  • The drama and “twists” remind me of a lifetime move – too unrealistic
  • SOOOOO long
  • The whistle at the end? Really?
  • Hugh Jackman’s character doesn’t have much depth. Jake Gyllenhaal’s character only has a little more…
  • So long and dramatic that it became unenjoyable. I kept thinking, WHEN WILL IT END?
  • Maybe a little more violent than it needed to be
  • Confusing – kidnappers, books, snakes, mazes, intruders, dead people, necklaces, kids clothing, what???
  • The type of movie I’d watch on a cold Sunday afternoon with my mom and sister, just because nothing else is on TV
  • The trailer was way better than the movie and that’s never good

Long story short, Prisoners is a film to be rented (or not seen at all).


  1. Good review Julia. Any pitfall the script ran into, the cast worked through terrifically, making this more than just an suspense thriller, but something you have to constantly pay attention to at all times.


  2. Pingback: Previous Posts Revisited | J V V

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s