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Parents' Guide to


By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 18+

Engrossing revenge thriller is very violent and intense.

Movie R 2013 146 minutes
Prisoners Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 20 parent reviews

age 15+

Disturbing, Gripping Thriller has Violence

Prisoners is a very intense and disturbing film about a man who will go to extreme measures to find his supposedly kidnapped daughter. Violence : 4/5 There isn’t a lot of violence but when it happens it’s extremely disturbing and at times can be bloody. A man is beaten to the point of extreme swelling on his face. A man is tortured by being confined to a tiny area with a shower where water either comes freezing cold or burning hot, very disturbing. A man shoots him self in the head, large blood spurt. A man is shot in the side of the head, small blood spurt. Elderly woman shot and killed. Language : 4/5 Around 50 F-words and about 30 milder profanitys’. Drinking, drugs and smoking : 2/5 A man gets drunk and drinks frequently. Many empty alcoholic bottles. A priest is seen drunk, passed out on the floor.

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much swearing
1 person found this helpful.
age 16+

Disturbing but brilliant

The whole movie is a masterpiece from beginning to end it is intense but also very disturbing with the sensitive subject matter the movie had a lot of restraint using it as a plot tool instead of just for shock value overall a true masterpiece

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much swearing

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (20 ):
Kids say (45 ):

Prisoners is a thinking audience's revenge film -- that is, if moviegoers (particularly parents) can stomach the subject matter. It's long, disturbing, and nerve-wracking to watch, but the performances, the imagery, and the fabulous cinematography (courtesy of 10-time Oscar nominee Roger Deakins) make it worth sitting through all of the angst, violence, and horror. Jackman is unforgettable as Keller, a God-fearing carpenter who can do so much with his hands -- including beating an unarmed, mentally disabled younger man until he's no longer recognizable. These are the things he believes a father must do when the police fail to see what his gut is telling him is true.

In contrast to Jackman's Keller is Howard's Franklin, a father who doesn't love his daughter any less but doesn't want to bloody his hands (though he's willing to stand by and watch). This thriller has lots of twists and turns for suspense fans, but its true artistry is in the sometimes-sickening character development, which reveals the depths to which people will go when their children's safety is on the line, when their faith is in tatters, and when all hope is nearly lost. The two-and-a-half-hour runtime isn't quite merited, but French-Canadian director Denis Villeneuve has woven a gripping, if terrifying, tale that explores the heart and actions of a well-intentioned but extreme vigilante.

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