From the moment the trailers of Prisoners hit the airwaves the intrigue about the film built. Children kidnapped, an evil person on the loose, a crazed dad that would do “anything” to find his daughter and an excellent cast propelled Prisoners to a good box-office opening.
Keller Dover (Jackman) is a carpenter in Pennsylvania liv- ing a satisfying life with his wife Grace (Maria Bello), their son Ralph (Dylan Minnette) and young daughter Anna (Erin Gerasimovich). When their friends Nancy (Viola Davis) and Franklin (Terrence Howard) Birch invite them over for Thanksgiving, everyone is happy.
Screenwriter Aaron Guzikowski has skillfully thought out every scene. The family prays the Lord's Prayer together and the song “Put Your Hand in the Hand of The Man Who Stilled the Water” plays in the background. As they all settle in after a great dinner, Joy (Kyla Drew Simmons), the Birch's daughter, and Anna beg to go out and play.
In opening scenes Keller and Franklin take the girls for a walk around the peaceful snow- dusted neighborhood. When they encounter a motorhome parked in front of a vacant house, the girls run up to jump on the ladder in the back. It's a moment that will eventually chill Keller to the bone.
When the girls ask to go to the Dover home to fetch something, they never return and are missing. Anxious moments turn into hours, and Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) is assigned the case. Keller has little patience as days tick by with no leads.
When Alex (Paul Dano), the man who lives in the motorhome, is arrested, the case seems solved. He's a very odd person suffering from some mental problems but there isn't enough evidence to hold him so he's released.
Keller is positive this is the kidnapper and knows the girls will not survive if not found soon. He takes action on his own. He captures Alex, hides him, and begins a relentless daily torture – that for me be- came a little too gruesome. Franklin joins Keller at first but then tries to stop the torture with no luck.