September 22, 2013, - 2:58 pm

Weekend Box Office 2: Prisoners

By Debbie Schlussel

Prisoners,” in theaters this weekend, is a well-crafted thriller. While it is very violent–and not suitable for kids (it’s rated “R” for a reason)–the movie is tight and keeps you riveted and on the edge of your seat the whole time. At 2.5 hours, the movie is a little long, but you’re never bored, and there’s little of it that should be cut. It’s a very dark movie–dark and dreary the entire time in cinematics as well as story.


The story: two couples (Hugh Jackman/Maria Bello and Terrence Howard/Viola Davis) are close friends. On Thanksgiving, they have dinner together, but suddenly each couple’s younger daughter is missing. Jackman’s son believes a camper parked in the neighborhood is responsible for the kidnapping. And when the camper is located, the driver, Paul Dano, is mentally slow, and the investigating police detective (Jake Gyllenhaal) does not believe he’s the culprit, after hours of intense questioning. Jackman believes he’s responsible and begins surveilling Dano at the home of his aunt (Melissa Leo), where Dano lives. Soon, after Dano does and says suspicious things, Jackman captures him and subjects him to torture to try to find out where his daughter is.

Telling you more would give away the movie. But it’s incredibly creepy. I had a few reservations. Jackman’s character is a devout Christian, and yet he resorts to torture, something they’d never show Muslims doing, despite the fact that Muslims are more likely to sanction and engage in that kind of behavior. They do it on a regular basis. Jackman’s character is also a hunter, and it appears that Hollywood is trying to show that Christian gun-owners will engage in unnecessary violence when set up in the right circumstances. It’s interesting also that the movie engages in mild racial politics, with the torturer in the in the movie being the White Christian hunter. In contrast, the movie shows the Black man–whose young daughter has also been abducted–as the voice of reason who opposes this sort of violence and torture. The Christian part is explained because it is an element of the plot. However, it wasn’t necessary.

If you can look beyond those momentary parts of the movie, it’s worth seeing and is far better than I expected. I lowered my rating of the movie (from THREE or THREE-AND-A-HALF REAGANS), though, because of those things.

It’s suspenseful, entertaining, well done, and filled with good acting. And I loved the ending, which is pitch perfect.


Watch the trailer . . .

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17 Responses

One has to wonder why the film makers would feel the need to make any mention of the character’s religion since religious faith is seldom exhibited in contemporary films, unless the point is to make those people of Christian or Jewish faith look silly, stupid or evil. Today’s mainstream movies hardly ever show scenes of people in prayer and supplication to God, even when called for; such as someone dying of cancer. Mainstream Hollywood only seems to present Christians and Jews in a bad light, so for that reason I’ll pass on Prisoners and won’t even watch it for free when it hits the local public library.

Robert Sweeney on September 22, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    Instead of drawing conclusions about a movie before you see it (all the better not to see it — self-fulfillng prophecy!), how about actually seeing it?

    Seek on September 23, 2013 at 2:33 pm


      I have read several synopses of the film. While the depiction is somewhat nuanced in a “no black or white but shades of gray” sort of postmodernism type of nonsense, ultimately the depiction of Catholics (curious that Protestants are almost never depicted in Hollywood anymore but that is another story) in this film has to be considered very negative. I will not say how as I do not want to give away too much to spoil those who might see it, but Catholics would have every right to be offended at how they are depicted in this film. And no, Muslims would not be portrayed in this film the way that Catholics are.

      Of course, the makers of this film would claim that it wasn’t anti-Catholic but instead was only “exploring issues of belief” or some other high sounding philosophical nonsense, but one merely has to look at the behavior of everyone identified or associated with Catholicism in this film as compared to everyone who wasn’t and it is unavoidable.

      As far as the race thing … the irony is that Terence Howard (the black actor who opposes torture) has been arrested several times for domestic violence against BOTH his ex-wives. (I will go ahead and mention this for those who care … both his battered ex-wives are white.) He also punched a random woman at a diner and was arrested for assaulting a stewardess on an airplane. Meanwhile Jackman has not had such problems with the law. Curious casting decision there. Anyway, since the people behind this movie clearly created an anti-Catholic product, it is not hard to imagine that they had some liberal race views as well. They could explain it away, of course, by saying that the Jackman character was the star who the movie revolved around so they had to make him the one who made the violent immoral decisions and that Howard was cast as the co-star for diversity reasons and whatever; making Howard the lead and Jackman the co-star would have made no sense as Jackman is the much bigger star and the movie would have made far less money. Normally I am not opposed to this as I am not one who believes that movies should have entirely white casts, or that black actors should be relegated to pimp/prostitute/drug dealer/prison inmate/maid/janitor type roles. But since this movie is so blatantly anti-Catholic, go ahead and convict them as being anti-white also. Especially since they made the bizarre decision to cast Howard as being non-violent. It isn’t as if they didn’t know about his history of beating up (white) women.

      Oh no, I have just gone ahead and given more fodder to the “white girl bleed a lot” people (google search the phrase if you have not encountered it already). Ah well.

      Gerald on September 23, 2013 at 4:06 pm

        You think you’re so clever Gerald but you’re NOT & I’m gonna call you out yet again.

        If I was an adherent of “The Church Of Satan” you’d be what is called a Sh** Disturber. Mixing it up ‘cuz you love to mix it up and watch the chaos from afar. Almost like a sociopath.

        It’s rich that you’re replying to Seek to whip it up. You have been here long enough to know he has an annoying and stupid hard-on for people who don’t like movies he likes(give it up Seek…why do you need other’s approval of the dopey movies you love???). It’s just an another excuse for you to show what a mental midget you are, Gerald.

        YOU are the one who cares that TH beats women…especially white ones. Because you’re like Seek when it comes to Black people…you can’t put your apologist bias aside because YOU need heaps of excuses to get thru life because of YOUR shortcoming and neurosis. You also need a kickstand to keep your bike standing. Like a little baby. Because you need support for your weak thoughts and beliefs.

        You’re too dumb to be an independent thinker and are way too dumb to see your compulsion to confess seeps out in all your attention seeking posts. You don’t think anyone will call you out but I will. You’re not protected in my eyes because I see right thru you. And I will spell it out.

        And a beast like you would try to dismiss the TRUTH on the uptick of Black-On-White violence in the Obama-Putin/Eric Holder era. Because you don’t have the character to speak the truth. Your bias regarding your skin colour makes you so weak and your failure to side with right over wrong proves your character leaves much to be desired. How pitiful.

        And you let it all hang out when you site WGBA. Because you don’t care about the violent crimes done to INNOCENT people…you need to process the skin colour of the victims/perps before you take a stand. Smells like raaaaacism to me.

        So, on top of that you’re a religious fraud too. No wonder you once tried to say I was anti-religious. I am no such thing. I am anti-religious FRAUDS thou’. Your type makes me sick.

        You should really stop, Gerald. I see you Windex clear and I will always expose you.

        Skunky on September 23, 2013 at 9:16 pm

          Gerald’s points are all well-taken. Not sure what your problem is.

          Prometheus on September 24, 2013 at 9:21 am

          ‘Gerald’s points are all well-taken. Not sure what your problem is.’
          Prometheus on September 24, 2013 at 9:21 am

          Really, Prometheus?? You have a bad habit of commenting on things you either don’t know the backstory to or if that isn’t the case, your brain is lacking.

          If you don’t know Gerald’s track record, achilles heel and racist apologia ways I can cop that YES, what you *THINK* you are reading may seem feasible but if you know him and his nonsense, you can see right thru’ him.

          What you think you read, Prometheus, is not what you read. Stop commenting on things you don’t know the history about…it just makes you look dopey and this is the 2nd time you’ve done it.

          Gerald won’t comment because he’s hit & run bomb thrower with his nonsense and he knows I have him cornered. It’s what he does. It’s his silly MO. He don’t wanna change and there was clues in his post but they went right by you.

          Skunky on September 24, 2013 at 10:51 am

Of course the white guy is more the bad guy. LIke all the commercials showing stupid white guys trying to buy insurance or stuff at Home depot, etc.
Get your child back or live forever dying inside for the loss of them. It isn’t pretty but sometimes ugly works. Finally a movie to see. Maybe with Grand theft auto 5 making 8 mil in it’s introduction, we will start seeing better movies.

samurai on September 22, 2013 at 4:49 pm

There is nothing in the Bible that would prohibit the use of torture against evil persons to save lives. Christianity is not the sissified, hippy, pacifist faith that liberal humanists fool themselves it is.

Baptist on September 23, 2013 at 6:14 pm

Thanks Debbie will try check this one out.

Frankz on September 23, 2013 at 6:51 pm

Debbie, very good review. I loved this movie. I agree with the film suggesting that patriotic, right-wing, Christians might go out of control and resort to torture. Aside from this ludicrous, almost subliminal suggestion, it was very well crafted. Who was the grandmother in this movie? She was quite good.

David on September 23, 2013 at 7:00 pm

Again they make a movie with the black guy honorable and the white guy evil. BOYCOTT THIS TRASH.

Fred on September 24, 2013 at 8:00 am

    I like your passion for the right thing, but on the other thing to look at is Jackman had the biggest testicles to do what had to be done. Like most of our S.O.G.’s, they happen to be over represented by the white warriors.
    No I’m not Aryan or anything, I think Israel is/are the Chosen and I’m just a gentile. But look how that little scrappy bunch of men and women take care of things. I like that.

    samurai on September 24, 2013 at 3:27 pm

While compelling, this movie has many flaws and gaping plot holes. I will not discuss them, since that would be a spoiler, but I’m sure that you will experience several “Wait a minute…” moments on the drive home from the theater.

The anti-Catholic sentiment does not beat you over the head, but for those who know what to look for, it is there.

One non-spoiler I will mention is that but for the torture, the case would not have been solved. Funny how this is overlooked in nearly all reviews.

Prometheus on September 24, 2013 at 9:20 am


Re Gerald. OK. Now I need to know the “backstory” of every posting?

Possibly, you should get out more.

Prometheus on September 24, 2013 at 11:07 am


“What you think you read, Prometheus, is not what you read.”

Thanks for the breathtaking arrogance.

Prometheus on September 24, 2013 at 11:11 am

    It’s not arrogance, Prometheus. You don’t know what you’re talking about. If you did you could dissect my reply to Gerald where I was wrong. But since you’re just a big mouth and not a big brain you didn’t do it.

    What is arrogant, however, is you NOT admitting that you don’t know what I am pointing out with Gerald. But thanks for for the projection, Prometheus. I know you like the taste of your feet.

    Skunky on September 24, 2013 at 11:40 am

      Oh dear. The original comment was that there was nothing wrong with what was in his posting. Your attack on it referred to something “off the page.”

      Not sure how this explains how I don’t know what I’m talking about.

      Taken as such, there is not a single item in his posting that is wrong. Your attacks on his motivation are irrelevant in a forum such as this.

      I leave it for other readers to conclude whether or not your comments are arrogant.

      Prometheus on September 24, 2013 at 12:27 pm

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