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September 20, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Virtually every major critic has praised the script, direction, and performances of Prisoners. But some are suggesting that the problem with it may be that it’s just too effective — a film about kidnapped children that will leave moviegoers unsettled even as they leave the theater. “A devastating psychological thriller, Prisoners pulls us deep into our worst fear: the Amber Alert,” writes David Hiltbrand in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Audiences are likely to be surprised, no, shocked, by its twists, several critics suggest. A.O. Scott in the New York Times concludes: “By the end, you may be a little worn out, and perhaps also slightly let down by the fussily clever revelations that wrap up the story, but in the meantime, you are a willing captive, unable [to] tell the difference between dread and delight.” A few other critics express uncertainty about the ending. Lou Lumenick in the New York Post remarks that it is “a film that seems headed toward one conclusion, then veers toward another.” Liam Lacey in the Toronto Globe and Mail remarks, “The film you begin watching when the lights dim is not the same one you carry home from the theater.” But Peter Hartlaub in the San Francisco Chronicle assures his readers, “The final scenes are anything but a cop-out.” The two stars also come in for their fair share of praise. Richard Roeper in the Chicago Sun-Times writes: “Best performance of Hugh Jackman’s career.” Betsy Sharkey in the Los Angeles Times echoes that assessment, calling his performance “unforgettable,” then writes that Gyllenhaal “continues to power through the darker roles he’s favored lately.” All in all, writes Rex Reed in the New York Observer, “When it comes to thrillers, this one is as good as it gets. Not for the squeamish, but for anyone who loves movies, it’s too exhilarating to miss.”