Prisoners Is Good, the End Is Not

Critics left frustrated by ending one calls 'jarring and fake'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 20, 2013 11:55 AM CDT
Prisoners Is Good, the End Is Not
This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Hugh Jackman, left, and Paul Dano in a scene from "Prisoners."   (AP Photo/Warner Bros. Pictures, Wilson Webb)

If you love a good thriller, then you're in for a treat—you may just want to leave the theater before Prisoners is over. The movie, starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal, about a father who takes justice into his own hands to find his missing daughter, is getting good ratings from critics. But though some are clapping loudly, others are just plain maddened by its end.

  • Stephen Whitty is a big fan. Writing for the Star-Ledger, he says the film has "a moral complexity that few movies like this even bother to consider," and the cast members all do fine jobs. "Is it the best Hollywood mystery we've seen in awhile? Oh yes. Is it one any parent would want to see? Only if they don't mind nightmares."
  • Rene Rodriguez at the Miami Herald acknowledges Prisoners "explores the subject of vigilante justice from a fresh perspective," plus it looks great. But in its final minutes, Prisoners "starts revealing its secrets to progressively hokier effect" in a way that's "jarring and fake—it's incredibly frustrating."

  • Liam Lacey is on the same page. "Any pretense of naturalism, of real-life stakes, disappears" as the movie progresses, he writes for the Globe and Mail. "The more that Prisoners conforms to the expectations of a well-crafted movie experience, the less it seems to be about anything that matters. You may be impressed, but you’re less likely to be convinced by its resolution."
  • Richard Corliss at Time, however, wasn't impressed from the start. "Prisoners has got more pedigree than a Westminster dog-show winner. It’s just not very good," he writes. "In fact, it’s worse than not-very-good; it’s could’ve-been-really-good-and-isn’t."
(More movie review stories.)

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