'Prisoners' is an intense mystery thriller that blurs the line of morality. It is about good and evil, doing what is right and necessary and is layered over a tale of the prey, the predator and the survival of the fittest.
It is a story of abducted kids, their parents' angst and perseverance in order to find them.
The film begins with Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) reciting the Catholic payer "Our father..." while his teenage son Ralph (Dylan Minnette), shoots down his first hunt, a deer.
This scene explains that God is the reason for every action committed, but paradoxically in the very next scene, in the vehicle on their way back from the hunt, Keller tells his son that in the battle of survival, "It gets to a point where the only thing standing between you and another person is you."
This lays the foundation to the narration.
It is Thanksgiving Day. Keller Dover, his wife Grace (Maria Bello), son Ralph and six-year-old daughter Anna (Erin Gerasimovich) are having a good time partying along with their neighbours, the Birchs; Franklin and Nancy (Terrence Howard and Viola Davis), their teenage daughter Elizia (Zoe Soul) and Joy (Kyla-Drew Simmons), who is close to Anna's age.
Suddenly in the middle of the celebrations, Anna and Joy go missing. Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) pitches in. Alex Wintermann Jones (Paul Dano), a 26-year-old man with the IQ of a 10-year-old, with a worn-out recreational vehicle, is considered a suspect.
Convinced of Alex's guilt and not depending on God or the law to take its own course, Keller has his own agenda. Desperate to find their daughter, the Birchs too, take a stand with, "We won't help Keller, but won't stop him either. God knows where he will lead to." This act does question ethics.