‘Prisoners’ Spoilers Discussion

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Prisoners Movie Spoilers Prisoners Spoilers Discussion

While our readers are already talking about this movie in the comments section of our Prisoners review, this is the place where you can discuss Prisoners spoilers without concerns about ruining the movie for people who haven’t seen it yet.

If you’re posting comments here, assume that anyone in the conversation has seen the movie – if you haven’t seen the movie, we would recommend you don’t read the comments here until you have.

We’ve set up a poll below where you can rate Prisoners for yourself. Other than that, feel free to discuss the film and all its surprises!

[poll id="679"]


Prisoners runs 153 minutes and is Rated R for disturbing violent content including torture, and language throughout. Now playing in theaters.

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  1. For those of You who are blaming your confusion on you’re review I don’t get you I love that this movie doesn’t jam you the twists and hints … a few people are confused about the significance of the maze and it is that the children where “prisoners” until they could solve the unsolvable maze… and so when the boy got bitten and released he was driven insane by the maze and kept trying to draw it but obviously couldn’t and the reason why Alex said the kids where stuck in the maze is because he was a kid who was abducted so he knows how it works and knew the girls where stuck until they solved it.

  2. Do you think there will be a pt 2?

    • I don’t think so.

  3. My god, it’s amazing what different things go through people’s brains when they all see the same thing. I just left the theater so I’d like to elaborate on the film’s theme of imprisonment as well as clear up some plot points. Here we go:

    Keller (Wolverine): The father of Anna. He was prepared for everything except getting bushwhacked by an old woman. He tied into the theme because he took Alex prisoner, and he himself was bound by his intense need to protect his family under any circumstance. At the end he gets tossed in the hole by Holly, making him physically imprisoned as well.

    Loki (Gyllenhaal): The loner detective. He is prisoner to his past, one most likely of abuse in the children’s home. His past also drove him to become an officer, but in doing so he became bound by the justice system and his profession. His drive to succeed consumes him. Also, he was NOT involved with the kidnappings. At all. Ever. I don’t know where the fresh hell that theory cropped up, people.

    Holly Jones (Leo): The crazy old lady. She and her husband lost their minds when their son died. Their lives from then on were governed by that tragedy; they sought to cause equal pain to other parents, hence the kidnappings.

    Alex Jones (Dano): The feeble-minded guy with the RV. He was one of the Jones’s first captures. He is their prisoner for most of his life, and he then becomes Keller’s prisoner.

    Bob Taylor (?): One of the Jones’s early captures. He freed himself from them, but is still a mental prisoner of their actions. Everything he experienced with them has stayed with him. He had snakes because the Jones’s had snakes. He buried mannequins because the Jones’s buried children. He stole clothing from the rooms of Anna and Joy because they were the most recent victims. He drew mazes because the Jones’s had him complete maze books during his captivity.

    • Do you think Keller was involve in the kidnapping? Like a test gone wrong to Anna? I just keep thinking when the girl in the hospital told Keller that he was in the room during the kidnapping. Also, when Keller’s wife told Loki that Anna said she found the whistle in Thanksgiving Day (the day they were kidnnaped).

      • ma che rapimento era nella sala perche parlava con la vecchia e sicuramente ha sentito la sua voce poi e scappata… scusa ma con questo commento significa che del film poco ci hai capito !!!

      • No. The reason Joy heard his voice was because he visited Holly Jones’ residence while the girls were in there, drugged. So while he was conversing with the old hag, and as the girl was hallucinating, she thought he was actually involved with their kidnapping.

        • But, she had memories, she said them : he gagged me, and they show the images, im really confuse about it, and the father’s keller suicide?, and the kid how makes the mazes?, and the father of the church? :’(

      • Keller spent most of the movie looking of his daughter and at the end he found out what happened to her, and the little in the hospital was drugged and traumatized. The reason the might go to jail is because he kidnapped and tortured that boy in his fathers old apartment.

      • did you even watch the movie?
        girl said keller was there, because keller paid a visit to holly jones just to look around the house where alex was staying, so the girl probably heard kellers voice
        and the other girl did find the whistle when keller gets thrown in the pit the whistle is there…at the end of the movie loki even hears the whistle andfrom that and the fact it was mentioned to him that the girls found the whistle we can suspect at that time loki will also find keller in the pit.

        • I think that it was not that she thought he was there because she heard his voice. I think that when he went to visit Holly the first time, she put drugs in his tea, forcing him to put the duck tape over the girl’s mouth. That’s why when the girl said he was there, it all clicked in his head and he ran off.

      • When she said that, it clicked to him that she was referring to when he visited the woman earlier. That’s what the little girl meant.

    • Hi:

      Do you think Keller was involve in the kidnapping? Like a test gone wrong to Anna? I just keep thinking when the girl in the hospital told Keller that he was in the room during the kidnapping. Also, when Keller’s wife told Loki that Anna said she found the whistle in Thanksgiving Day (the day they were kidnnaped).

  4. Okay part two: plot point clarifications.

    Again, detective Loki was NOT involved in the kidnapping of any children! This notion is completely absurd at best, and borderline idiotic at worst. He pursued Keller because of his erratic behavior, namely Keller’s wife mentioned he was out searching with the police, which he was not. He tried to stop Bob from shooting himself. He rescued Alex. He killed Holly Jones because she left him no choice. Had he been trying to cover things up, none of these things I just mentioned would have happened.

    The little girl, Joy, did not magically escape. They showed a clear, albeit brief, scene in which the two little girls try to flee, with Joy being successful.

    The ending seems to be the biggest point of contention. The ending was NOT ambiguous, people! Use the information the filmmakers give to you!

    [Side note: I saw people comparing this to Inception's ending. That was also not ambiguous. Him being in reality was unclear, but by the end of the movie he had overcome his personal demons, aka memories of his wife. He was no longer obsessed with his top, so he walked away from it and allowed himself to be happy with his kids.]

    Ok, back to the Prisoners ending. Loki heard the whistle. That is painfully obvious. If you paid any attention whatsoever to his character throughout the film, you know he will discover Keller. He will discover Keller because he works tirelessly to complete his job, hence his 100% case completion rate. He will send Keller to jail because he, again, will do his job and uphold the law. Finally, here’s the final part to why this will happen: HE SAYS IT. In the hospital, to Keller’s wife, he says [I will find your husband. And he will go to jail].

    One more final note about why people shouldn’t find the ending ambiguous. Just because you don’t see something happen in a movie, that doesn’t mean it didn’t and/or won’t occur. They didn’t show Keller loading the deer into his truck, but we knew that’s what he did. They didn’t show Holly and Alex kidnap the girls, but we infer they were kidnapped. They didn’t show every instance of Keller torturing Alex, but we know he did it more times than portrayed on screen. The filmmakers ended the movie this way because there was no need to spell it out in bold letters; you the viewer should be able to use your critical thinking and extrapolate.

    • Thank you so much for your insightful review. I just left the theatre myself and was confused about a few points. After reading that, it all came together. Thank you again for allowing me to sleep better tonight!
      Fan of your review—

    • Wow.

      McRae… you are quite insightful. I appreciate your clarity and concise explanations of plot developments in Prisoners. Do you have a blog site of your own I could visit? Anyway, I really enjoy your fresh approach here on the Rants!

    • Alex, was the boy, who lived in the house , who was abducted years ago in the news paper clipping, the Son of the Mother,,who owned the house the camper was parked out side of, had moved, and Loki went and spoke with her

      Holly’s Husband, had gone to the Priet’s to confess and the Priest kept him prisoner, and his necklace as the maze made the point, His picture at Holy’s House as her alive Husband is connected with the same necklace in the picutre of the dead person in the Priet’s house

      absolutely no ambiguity, once Loki has clearly heard the whistle , he is not going to leave, with out getting him out
      and it was not Loki who said he would send him to Jail. he says I will find your husband ok
      but she says then will he go to jail and he says , i suppose so

      Just Bogart never said, “Play it again Sam” he said, ” you played it for her, Now play it for me”

    • McRae great review; I share all of your poinsts of views; how ever I have a missing link.

      I know that at the hospital Joy Said to Keller “it was you who ducked taped us” … then he ran away…

      At that moment I thought that he was the kidnaper in an alter personality; however as it gets discover that Holly is the one, everything comes together … then I get- oh the girl meant “you where there, with the ducktape” implying that keller kidnaped Alex and probably used ducktape on him …

      but still in my mind I keep remembering “you put us duck tape”.

    • Agree with everything (McRae) except for this: “They didn’t show Holly and Alex kidnap the girls, but we infer they were kidnapped”

      Alex didn’t kidnapped the girls. As we found out at the end of the movie Alex NEVER EVER lies (has the IQ of a 10 YO), he just wanted to play. We even can see that the girls teach him the Christmas song (they wouldn’t have sung it to him if they weren’t playing), the police didn’t find any clothes or blood in the motor-home that indicates that there was no struggling between the girls and Alex. Just when he brought them home Holly decided to kidnap them (they only cried when I left them… again all true).

      Try to remember everything he said (not that much) and you’ll see that it was all true:

      “I’m not alex” – TRUE. Alex was the name Holly and his husband give him
      “They only cried when I left them” – TRUE. The girls were just playing with him until he left them with Holly
      “I just wanted to play” – TRUE. He had the IQ of a 10 YO, he just wanted to play with the girls
      “They’re in the maze” – TRUE. no explanation needed
      Can’t remember anything else he said

      I felt sad for this poor guy at the end of the movie. He got kidnapped when he was only a child and then he got kidnapped again and tortured by keller.

      • Forget what I wrote. Alex did lie. I just remembered that when they show him the pictures of the girls he said he didn’t know them. Maybe he was defending holly.

        • That’s true… :)

      • Actually I think Alex does lie.

        When he is interrogated by Loki, if he has ever seen the girls, he says no. And we do know that he very likely has been playing with them, therefore he is lying, right?

    • It still would have been nice to see the father hold his daughter in his arms after all that. Obviously that happens at some point but the entire movie was based on him trying to find her and make sure she is safe. At the end she is finally safe but we never see the reward of him holding her. There is no payoff and the end ruins an otherwise good movie.

      • Do you really have that much sympathy for Keller as the movie progresses? He becomes a monster, and even though he is probably responsible for his daughter being found, there is no escape from his fate for him.

  5. Maze Brain


  6. I agree that Loki will find Keller Dover due to the whistle. But what I do not recall is seeing how or when Joy escaped! And wasn’t the corpse in the priest’s basement that of Holly’s husband?

    • He didn’t! Loki didn’t find Keller! He wasn’t around long enough to make it happen! He had to go! Anna no doubt will need her dad! Girls who grow up or raised without a father figure have a different outlook or views from those with both parents! But what Keller put someone’s else’s child through was appalling he should be content with the knowledge that his daughter was safe she was with her mother she might be raised by a stepfather!

      Joy’s recollection op her escape was confused after thew drugged juice she nor anyone couldn’t remember the sequence events correclty!

      The corpse in the priest’s basement = Holly’s husband!

  7. Two thumbs up!!! Great movie for higher order thinking minds!

  8. When hugh jackman visited holly’s house for the first time, she mentioned something about alex having an accident or fear(can’t remember which) of snakes? What has this got to do with anything? And is this linked to the snakes in bob taylor’s house? and why was bob taylor snooping around the houses of the two families?

    and why would alex tell hugh jackman that his daughter is in a maze? i must be missing something here..

    finally, if bob taylor and alex escaped from holly, shouldnt she be afraid? i mean i know both of them were drugged.. but still she seems so nonchalant about it.

    • why was bob taylor snooping around the houses of the two families?

      He wanted to imitate everything that the real kidnappers did, so he needed clothes of the two girls recently kidnapped by Holly.

  9. what the f***……………………………………………………………………………………

  10. i do believe they found hugh jackmans character at the end but please someone explain to me how they wouldnt have been able to find his truck on that property you have to think there would have been dozens of officers searching the place where cold she possibly have hid that thing that helicopter or dogs wouldnt have been able to locate.

    • They showed her driving it away for a second after trapping him. And I think they may have said they found it abandoned.

    • Exactly… Moreover, Keller (Hugh Jackman) also left all hos tools at the house…

  11. It was terrible enough said it just sucked

  12. I loved this on the edge of your seat movie, but found it hard to follow all the twist and turns. I was especially confused as to why Holly had a photo of Keller’s dad’s suicide notice in her living room in a frame. How does this relate to the rest of the plot? Also as Alex suffered all that torturing at the hands of Keller, why didn’t he relent and just confess?

  13. Is this movie based on a true story?

  14. Great film. Really enjoyed it. I had to hit the message boards after it to get my head around some of the plot. I’ll have to watch it on DVD a few times to get a better feel for how well it hangs together. One review I read argued that it went from being art to entertainment as it morphed into a Seven style film. I tend to agree. Still, I was hoping to be entertained. Mostly I’ve been thinking about the plot and whether it works or not and where are the holes in it etc. It got me thinking about the morality of torture too. Personally, I would like to believe that I’d kidnap Alex too (especially after what he does to his dog). Wouldn’t it have made sense to “make friends” with him first to see how that went before torturing him? He looked like he needed a friend! Then the only clue he gets is something about mazes, he goes to the Aunt’s house mentions mazes she doesn’t say anything so he leaves. You’ e come this far Keller take it up a notch and take the Aunt as leverage against Alex. The Aunt was the only person Keller could’ve pursued the maze lead with, it’s time to ask her some questions. I know it’s twenty/twenty but step it up and take the Aunt for some interrogation too! I wonder what Creasy from Man On Fire would’ve done?

    • Or what would Liam Neeson do if this was “Taken”

  15. Despite really enjoying this film I am tired of films that try to make the supposedly obvious point that torture is always wrong and it never works anyway and even if it did it would still be wrong blah blah blah and we always must when reflecting on these films bring in discussion of 9/11 symbolism and the War On Terror even though it’s completely irrelevant as to whether or not under some exceedingly rare circumstances you find yourself in the position of being able to save your child’s life by torturing a criminal. As if I’d stop to ponder what it would say about US foreign policy for me to torture this person? The lesser of two evils is good. Would I enjoy torturing someone to find my daughter? No. Would I be morally obligated to use torture under some circumstances to get her back? Yes. I’m happy to talk details (When? How?etc.) but torture is on the table. Prisoners stacks the deck against torture. Which means we need to talk about the details not get all handwringy. This is where Man On Fire shines. Both films are entertainment pieces but Man On Fire doesn’t lie to us and try to get us to believe that torture never works.

  16. I never felt this film said torture never works. It took both Keller and Loki to find Anna. Loki wouldn’t have found Anna in time if he hadn’t been chasing Keller and then finding Alex at the apartment complex. He was subsequently sent back to Holly’s home to inform her of Alex being found. That is where he observed the picture of Mr. Jones again and registered the maze pendant in his mind. I also don’t believe Alex was without guilt. This IQ thing doesn’t give him complete immunity. I am not slaying I would inflect the same torture as Keller but it was obvious the police didn’t have Alex under surveillance. Keller had ample reason to believe Alex had information about the girls disappearance. He didn’t relish the torture he was inflicting on Alex but he made a pact with himself to follow his course of action no matter the consequences to himself. I think in a way Loki admired Keller. Maybe his life would have been different if as a young boy he had a father who cared so much.

    • Thanks for giving me something more to consider. It’s no doubt admirable that Keller was basically unconcerned about the ramifications of his actions to himself. He placed the welfare of his child ahead of his own.

  17. The article you link to claims that the CIA does not believe that torture works. The evidence being that in 1988 they admitted to a Senate inquiry that their interrogators don’t prefer it because not only is it wrong but it doesn’t work. My response to this is that actions speak louder than words. The article goes on to outline the details of the CIA’s use of torture to this very day. That being said, for the purposes of this discussion re vigilante torture I am putting US state sanctioned torture to the side – see my previous post. I’m not here to discuss it. It’s wholly irrelevant to the justification for vigilante torture which exists in a different space under different circumstances involving different means, etc. 
    Am I meant to take your statement that “torture does not work” as a law of nature? e.g. Newton’s law of universal gravity i.e. without exception torture necessarily fails to garner desired information. To maintain this you would have to make the absurd claim that in all of human history torture has never worked not even once. Is it a generalization? If so then you admit that it does sometimes work which is all I require to make my case that if I was in an exceedingly rare situation where my torturing a criminal would save my daughter’s life I’d do it and it wouldn’t be wrong.

    • Anon, I would also do whatever I had to do to save my child. You brought up State sanctioned torture. Many people are like Nancy Birch. They think it is wrong but they turn their heads and let it happen as long as it isn’t them doing the torturing. But I think many people would be more like the Dover’s if it was their own child and you knew in your gut this person is involved in your child’s disappearance. Keller taking matters into his own hands when the police failed to keep Alex in jail or at least under surveillance Or Grace medicating herself so as not to have to face what was happening. Two extremes. Of the two….I side with Keller.

  18. What I dont understand is no evidence of the girls was found in the RV?? Joy escaping and how they were upducted needed screen shots or longer ones at some point.Good movie but felt they rushed it a bit and Taylor part could have gone.Liked the twists and the fact u didnt think Alex new anything till near end!

  19. Help!! i really enjoyed this movie, despite little plot holes. sometimes small suspension of disbelief is ok. one thing though…who snatched Anna back when Joy escaped?


    • I am pretty sure “lots” of people do not feel the same way as you do. If you only like watching films that have warm, fuzzy, happy endings…you should stick to Disney animated films. But thanks for sharing.

    • I think it was obvious Loki would find Keller in the end. His lingering on the scene implied it as did hearing the whistle.
      I think the point the director was making was, in as much as Keller made Alex suffer, the filmmaker had a moral obligation to let
      Keller stay imprisoned and suffer as well.

  21. Where are you folks all from? Outer space? God knows what kind of films Hollywood will have to roll out in the future if this blog reflects the comprehension levels of US audiences.

    • I totally agree—were people actually watching this movie or something else???

  22. After seeing the movie, I’ve been discussing the plot with my daughter and we managed to put all the jigsaw pieces together.
    While talking I realised that one of the themes behind the story is that the same fanatism that people may have for a religion or other believe in something good makes the person do things that are in complete contrast with their fundamental good intentions.

    - The most obvious example is Keller Dover. A strongly religious man who gets prisoned in the situation of his daughter being kidnapped. He is helpless en powerless and then decides to torture a man for which he has very little proof.
    - Mr Jones had been just as fanatically religious and turns into a monster when his child died of cancer.
    (A lot of common things between Jones and Dover: they are first very religious, bad things happen to them, they turn violent and in the end both are left in a basement to die)
    - Even the priest, to whom Mr. Jones had confessed, has apparantly tied Jones to a chair with tape around his mouth and left him to die in the basement.
    - Loki is a dedicated cop who has solved all of his cases. But when he cannot make Bob Taylor talk, he can no longer control himself and starts beating him up real bad.

    To me this seems to say, that the same fanatism that people may have for a good cause, may turn into something very ugly when they are ‘prisoned’ in a bad situation which they cannot change.

    (sorry for my clumsy english – I have difficulty in finding the right english words, but i hope you get my point)

  23. How did Keller know it was Holly? It’s the only thing that confused me in the film. Did Alex finally break down and tell him or how did he figure it out?
    I thought the movie was fantastic very well done.

  24. What was signifigance of the guy who killed him self in the police station. Why did he want the kids clothes? Why was there pigs blood? How was he connected to the aunt?

    • Taylor was significant in exposing the occult symbology embedded within the very fabric of the movie by showing what Holly was doing with her husband to the kidnapped kids they were feeding them to reptiles which when linked to the name Alex Jones reveals the hidden illuminati rituals going on in America which the real life Alex Jones exposed when he went to Bohemian Grove http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpKdSvwYsrE

  25. He was a past prisoner of Holly. He was copying her with the manakins,snakes, mazes, and the clothes. He was still stuck in the maze mentally because of the drugs and trauma he went through before escaping. I don’t know how that is what confuses you, someone answer my question about how Keller figured out it was Holly!?!

  26. I gotchu on that.. Joy said to keller in the hospital i saw u . And keller figured out immediately that the only place she couldve seen him was at holly’s house thats why he ran out of the hospital. Also why did barry/alex kidnap the girls if he was kidnapped himself?

  27. Also why didnt barry/alex tell keller where the girls are before and or while he was being beaten

  28. Thank you that does answer my question. I think Alex was terrified of Holly and that’s why he helped take the girls and why he wouldnt tell Keller. That or he was retarded from all the drugs.

  29. Wow…this all makes sense!! I was angry at first but I feel better now. Even better about the ending of inception.