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'Prisoners' Movie Reviews and Trailer

One critic describes the latest Hugh Jackman movie as an "edge-of-your-seat tale."

It's Thanksgiving day in a Pennsylvania suburb and two families are celebrating together. The adults are talking and the two daughters, Anna and Joy, are playing. They go outside and disappear. And there is where the movie really begins as father Dover Keller (Hugh Jackman) becomes unraveled in his search for his child. He believes Alex Jones (Paul Dano), a supposed simpleton with an RV, has abducted his daughter. Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) takes Jones into custody but can't continue to hold him. So Keller takes matters into his own hands, becoming a monster as he seeks the monster who may have murdered his child. Maria Bello is Grace Dover. The other Thanksgiving couple are Terrence Howard as Franklin Birch and Viola Davis as Nancy Birch. (Be advised: there are scenes of torture here that you may find very disturbing. Or not.) 

Here's what the critics are saying:

"Not overly graphic but monumentally disturbing, Prisoners is about 2½ hours long, but there’s not a wasted frame in this edge-of-your-seat tale, one that masterfully maintains the morose mood and doesn’t completely reveal the last of its secrets until the very end." Bill Wine, CBS Philly

On its face, Prisoners is an intense, graphic thriller with an elaborate and important commentary on society’s failure at every level to address one of the most fundamental moral quandaries of our time. It is also a high-quality piece of Hollywood filmmaking, destined for both critical and box office success on a mainstream level that I strongly suspect will encompass a wide array of perspectives and interpretations that might even miss the larger points the film is trying to raise — including the point that there may be no obvious or easy clear-cut answer to the questions it raises, but that asking these questions and trying to answer them is a process long overdue in our society. Mark Hughes, Forbes

The wages of sin, guilt, vengeance and redemption weigh heavy on the characters of “Prisoners,” a spellbinding, sensationally effective thriller with a complex moral center that marks a grand-slam English-lingo debut for the gifted Quebecois director Denis Villeneuve. Powered by an unusually rich, twisty script by Aaron Guzikowski (“Contraband”) and career-best performances from Hugh Jackmanand Jake Gyllenhaal, this tale of two Pennsylvania families searching for their kidnapped daughters sustains an almost unbearable tension for two-and-a-half hours of screen time, satisfying as both a high-end genre exercise and a searing adult drama of the sort Hollywood almost never makes anymore. Scott Foundras, Variety

“Prisoners,” despite its gathering anxiety, has some of the pleasures of ordinary thrillers. But Villeneuve, who previously directed “Incendies,” does volatile scenes without exaggeration; parts of the movie are exceedingly violent, though the violence isn’t “fun”—it makes you wince. (Horror-film fans will not like this picture; some of it is actually horrifying.) Villeneuve throws us into a complicated skein of abductions going back years without losing the urgency of the present. “Prisoners” is a challenge: you have to decide who’s right and who’s wrong at every turn, and, when it’s over, ambiguity, rather than the satisfactions of harmony, reigns. Life stays out of joint. This movie suggests that it’s never really been any other way. David Denby, The New Yorker

The detective moves in slow motion, and you can’t tell if it’s because the pacing and structure are faulty or if it’s the filmmaker’s way of making you think, In the real world, there is no instant gratification. But in the real world there wouldn’t be a red herring as dumb as the one here. And it’s never clear what’s eating Gyllenhaal’s Loki, who’s God’s Loneliest Man—apart from Jackman’s Dover. Or me, sweating through Prisoners. David Edelstein, New York Magazine

Rated R, Prisoners runs 153 minutes, so fortify yourself with popcorn. It's playing at University 16 CinemasBeechwood Stadium Cinemas 11  and Carmike Cinemas 12.

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