The Grade Book: “Prisoners”


Plot: A man takes matters into his own hands when his daughter and her friend go missing, while a cop seeks out the truth about the situation.

Director: Denis Villeneuve.

Writer: Aaron Guzikowski.

Cast: Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Terrence Howard, Paul Dano, Viola Davis, Maria Bello, and Melissa Leo.

Genres: Drama, Crime, Thriller.

Running Time: 2 hours and 33 minutes.

U.S. Release Date: September 20th, 2013.

MPAA Rating: R.




(Lowest Grade Given to the Film: B+, Highest Grade Given to the Film: A+)

SUMMARY OF THOUGHTS: Prisoners goes on a bit too long and has a hit-or-miss ending, but it’s a beautifully filmed, edge-of-your-seat drama that features powerful acting.



  • Gabriel Alcantara:

Grade: B+

Prisoners is definitely not a happy-go-lucky film, but then again, few child abduction films are. It is, however, a very intense drama that will probably wreck you emotionally. Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal rule in the acting department. The final act is where things get a little messy and not as shocking as I had hoped. Overall, it’s a very good film but not the knockout drama of the year.

  • Nick Casaletto:

Grade: B+

Prisoners is an extremely well done drama, with excellent cinematography. The acting was outstanding, with standouts from Jackman, Gyllenhaal, and Dano. The story keeps you engaged and scared throughout. The ending is a love-it-or-hate-it type of situation, but I felt it was fitting for the overall feel of the film. It is not for everyone, but I do feel it is an important film to see at least once.

  • Ryan Fecskovics:


Grade: B+

Overall a very good film. It was a tad too long, but I liked how the film kept me on my toes. The script is fantastic and the actors are at their finest here. The cinematography done by Roger Deakins is absolutely phenomenal. This film is a must-see.

  • Chad Gleason (MovieManCHAD):


Grade: B+

Even though it really plays it too safe for me at the ending of the film, this is still a movie I won’t forget anytime soon. An amazing film on all levels!

  • Mike Holtz (WeWatchedAMovie):

Grade: A+

Hugh Jackman reaches a level I find impossible to fathom as a  father myself, and actually manages to portray a realistic reaction to an unimaginable circumstance. Jake Gyllenhaal is masterful and the David Fincher feel of Prisoners mixed with the film’s seamless storytelling and twists make it my favorite film of the year.

  • Steven Hunt:

Grade: A

Prisoners is a fantastic movie. It is a character-driven movie that is both depressing and enthralling at the same time. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal are both award-worthy in their respective roles. If you are looking for a serious drama, this is your movie.

  • Nick Iacobucci: 

Grade: B+

The movie is solid and it is surrounded by very quality acting. It isn’t the pinnacle of filmmaking that everyone says it is, but it is above average and well worth seeing.

  • Mark Krawczyk:

Grade: B+

While it is a story that has been told before, the direction of the film really kept it fresh. There is a bit of a predictability to it, but the performances of everyone, especially by Jackman, really make you not mind. One of the better movies of the year. Definitely worth the price of admission.

  • John Maffeo:

Grade: A

The Seven comparisons are annoying, but this is undoubtedly one of the most intensely created films I’ve experienced this year! The performances and cinematography are ironically beautiful because of the brooding environment surrounding the characters. And the story unravels in such a great way, keeping the audience gripped to their seats for over two solid hours. Check this one out ASAP!

  • Zachary S. Marsh:

Grade: A

I’m still shaking. Superb acting, great writing, and so many twists and turns throughout! One of, if not THE most intense movie I’ve seen since Argo.

  • Matt Marshall:

Grade: A-

Prisoners screams Oscar contender right now on so many levels. It’s two and a half hour run time may intimidate regular moviegoers, but make no mistake, Prisoners requires such an epic length to piece together one of the year’s most intricate puzzles. Expect acting nominations for Paul Dano and Hugh Jackman.

  • Austin Putnam:

Grade: A-

Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal give Oscar-worthy performances as a dad and a cop. This felt like a combo of Zodiac and The Lovely Bones. Beautiful cinematography by Roger Deakins as well. It’s a powerful crime/drama/thriller that when parents see it they will probably call their children immediately. At times it goes a bit too dark, and it’s definitely not a film for everyone.

  • Daniel Rester:

Grade: A-

This is an intensely dark drama with a David Fincher feel and Hitchcockian twists and turns. Roger Deakin’s beautiful cinematography and Jake Gyllenhaal’s subtle but affecting performance are the highlights, but everything else is strong as well.

  • Brian Sudfield:

Grade: A

One of the best films I’ve seen all year! Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal give the performances of their careers and they both deserve Oscar nominations. The cinematography is immaculate, the script is heartbreaking and intense, and the direction is perfect. My only issue is that the film is a little too long, but overall this movie is fantastic.

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