Prisoners, which opens this weekend after premiering at the Telluride and Toronto Film Festivals, is a family drama crime thriller that fits the Oscar bait formula.
Artistic ambition and star wattage combine, with Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Terrence Howard, Viola Davis and Melissa Leo forming the standout cast.
But does Prisoners meet those lofty expectations?
Let's see what the reviews are saying ...
"Some will write off Prisoners as shameless exploitation. But like Clint Eastwood's Mystic River, to which it's been compared, Prisoners is so artfully shaped and forcefully developed that objections fade." - Rolling Stone
"Being sold with an adrenalized trailer featuring the histrionics of Hugh Jackman, Prisoners is meant to be a thriller. But Denis Villeneuve, who directed the Oscar-nominated Incendies, is playing a different game, one that's both more and, unfortunately, less interesting than it seems." - The Huffington Post
"Prisoners is in the best thriller traditions, but goes deeper into a reflection of one of the greatest moral dilemmas in modern society. In attempting to confront that dilemma in a more direct and personal way, the film is several steps above most other crime thrillers or revenge tales, choosing to not only be memorable, but to matter." - Forbes
"This is one of those films that prod the viewer to dream of storming the editing room and trying to carve an excellent thriller out of a meandering rough cut. Or, to paraphrase Winston Churchill‘s definition of golf, Prisoners is a good walk in the pathological dark, spoiled." - Time
"It’s all very creepy and mysterious, and “Prisoners” is, among other things, a satisfying whodunit, with artfully deposited clues and twists that are surprising without entirely undermining the film’s naturalistic credibility." - The New York Times
"Thanks to the efforts of an expert filmmaking team, it’s a smashingly effective melodrama. As the plot twists multiply and tension mounts, the film reaches a climax that is satisfying without being predictable. Prisoners can at times be a hard film to watch, but thanks to all the talent involved, it’s even harder to shake off." - The Hollywood Reporter