Film Review: "Prisoners" - Cornerstone Church Kingston
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Film Review: “Prisoners”

October 8, 2013

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Plot Summary

After two young girls mysteriously go missing at an American thanksgiving party, it falls to Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal), to head up the investigation. He quickly makes an arrest on a man spotted in an RV near the scene of the crime. But, like most thrillers, it’s not long before he realises things are a great deal more complicated than they first seemed.
With little evidence and the children still missing, Loki is forced to release his suspect, Alex Jones. It’s at this point that one of the girl’s fathers, Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman), decides to take matters into his own hands. Although a deeply religious man, Dover shows little reliance upon God. So, convinced of Jones’s guilt, he abducts the acquitted man. What follows is a grim and nauseating scene as Dover attempts to force from Jones the whereabouts of his daughter.
Meanwhile, Detective Loki searches relentlessly for answers amidst constant twists and turns to find these two lost girls and bring them home.


Prisoners is a dark, doomy thriller directed by Denis Vileneuve which focuses on how these two families react to the nightmare of losing their children. Aided by some amazing cinematography, it creates such an atmosphere that you actually feel like you have a sense of what the characters are going through.
Dover’s reliance upon himself is evident throughout this film, despite his supposed faith. He constantly tries to protect people; fix everything; and discover the answers by his own ability. He does this until he is utterly helpless. It’s only then that he truly turns in prayer to God for help.
It is interesting how different characters react to the evil that has come upon them. Some just give up altogether like Dover’s wife. Others would rather let someone else deal with it all. And some, like Dover, want to fight the evil themselves, trusting no one. But the result is always falling into more evil themselves.
The theme of vengeance and punishment is also significant, as Dover tries to justify beating the young man to find the children.


Though long, Prisoners is an excellent film for Christians to engage with. The themes seen in this film can be seen in our lives as well. We too, face battles with evil, demonic powers and our own sin. But the way we react is important. We see three ways of dealing with evil, ways we can so often turn to as Christians.

1. The Slave Way: Sometimes we try harder and harder in our own strength. We think it’s all down to us and our own efforts at salvation.

2. The Dead Way: Other times we can just give up. We accept the sin in our lives. Stop struggling. Think God will sort it all out without us.

But that’s not the case. All these approaches are destined to fail. We are in a battle with evil every day. Not an hour goes by when you will not be tempted to sin. Try any of the above approaches and you’ll fail. So…

3. The Only Way: The only way to fight evil is to fix your eyes on our rescuer Jesus Christ who paid the price on the cross to deal with all the evil in the world. To deal with our sin. He defeated all evil and in Him we are victorious too. All we need to do is trust that Jesus Christ has rescued us from our sin and the evil powers around us! In light of that, as we gaze upon Jesus, we see how much better He is. How He offers us so much more than sin ever could.

“Since then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on the things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature:”

Colossians 3:1-5


By the Cornerstone Team