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This 2013 Hugh Jackman movie is popular on Netflix. Here’s why you should watch it

Just like the recent streaming hit Missing, which first came to theaters, Prisoners is enjoying a second life now that it’s available to stream on Netflix. The movie, which tells the story of a father who begins to spiral after his six-year-old daughter and her friend go missing, is a chilling tale that feels firmly grounded in the many true stories that it likely drew from. Although Prisoners is undoubtedly bleak, many viewers are attracted to it partly because of its great cast and partly because it’s so well-made.

The movie was not an enormous hit in theaters, but its popularity on Netflix has many people wondering why it might be worth a watch. Here are three reasons why the Jake Gyllenhaal/Hugh Jackman-led Prisoners might be worth a watch:

The direction is top-notch

Prisoners - Official Trailer 1 [HD]

Denis Villeneuve has since become best known for his hugely impressive large-scale blockbusters, but Prisoners was one of the first times that American audiences took notice of this Canadian auteur.

Collaborating with frequent partner, the cinematographer Roger Deakins, Prisoners is a carefully crafted, stunningly shot movie that digs into the darkness that men can feel in their most desperate moments. It may be the most despairing film of Villeneuve’s entire career, but because he’s at the wheel, it’s also gripping from its very first moment through to the credits.

Prisoners is a grounded crime thriller that will leave you guessing

Jake Gyllenhaal looking pensive in the movie Prisoners
Image used with permission by copyright holder

For all of its many dramatic elements, Prisoners is more firmly grounded in reality than any other movie in Villeneuve’s entire filmography. The movie is about real people grappling with a frightening situation, and trying their best not to lose their minds in the aftermath.

It’s set in the middle of America, and while it may not be 100% authentic, it doesn’t require nearly as much buy-in as something like Dune or Blade Runner 2049, which are both set in far-flung futures that don’t feel anything like the world we live in. Prisoners feels almost like a true crime story, even if it has a few more heightened elements.

It features a slew of great performances

Prisoners Jake Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman.
Warner Bros. Pictures

Thanks to the strong ensemble cast that Villeneuve was able to attract, the movie features incredible performances from Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, The Batman‘s Paul Dano, Terrence Howard, Maria Bello, and the rest of the sprawling ensemble. Jackman has never given a darker or angrier turn, tapping into everything that made him a great Wolverine as he feverishly searches for his daughter and her friend.

Dano is also particularly great, in part because he’s able to be a complete weirdo without seeming at all out of place. The rest of the cast is just as great, and it’s the strength of this ensemble that helps the movie linger in your mind long after you’ve left the theater.

Prisoners is now streaming on Netflix.

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Joe Allen

Joe Allen is a freelance writer based in upstate New York focused on movies and TV.

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