MCN Blogs
David Poland

By David Poland

A PRISONERS Spoiler Thread


97 Responses to “A PRISONERS Spoiler Thread”

  1. Chris says:

    I really like the use of ellipses in the film and I think they’re legitimate, unlike in the phony, overrated “Incendies”: that it’s assumed, for instance, we get that Gyllenhaal drops in on the priest character because he’s on the registered sex offender list that’s been mentioned, even though that ends up seeming like a red herring (and then not seeming like one). But I overheard a fair amount of head-scratching after the screening I attended (people unsure if Dano and the maze guy were in on it, for instance). And I have to admit I’m not super-clear on the role the maze plays in the story, now that I think about it. It’s the sort of relentless movie I always wish would be huge, but I wonder how “Prisoners” will play with audiences.
    (And thanks for this thread!)

  2. Ray Pride says:

    The husband who “disappeared”–when you realize who he is. Yeeks. That’s construction.

  3. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    For all it’s impressive acting and taut plotting it still falls prey to a couple of tv-movie-of-the-week contrivances. Like the maze design being remembered from a glimpse of a photo (that ‘clue’ is as old as Matlock is). There’s some ropey stuff when the first suspect disappears and the complete lack of follow-up from Gyllenhaal after knowing about Jackman’s assault on him. After thinking about it, I thought a more satisfying conclusion would have been the remaining victim buried alive inside ‘the maze’ and the race against time to rescue her.

    Still was knocked out by it and thought the direction excellent.

  4. chris says:

    More than just a glimpse of a photo of the maze, JBD (there’s also the corpse with the necklace), but I do think the maze element, at least based on one viewing, is the thing thing that does not quite fall into place.

  5. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    Chris but that’s exactly what I meant. When i saw the drawing my mind raced back to the corpse. And I had to wait forever until Gyllenhaal sees the polaroid. Minor quibbles I guess but when everything is on point you don’t want it to fall back on these Matlockisms.

    I did love how Gyllenhaal’s character was an early survivor of catholic boy school abuse and had developed some quirks, facial ticks etc

  6. theschu says:

    Chris I’m curious what about the maze element doesn’t fall into place for you?

  7. Chris says:

    Bottom line, I guess: Is it even a maze?

  8. Ray Pride says:

    The investigator in the house tells Loki it’s a notorious maze that can’t be solved, doesn’t he?

  9. theschu says:

    I’m pretty sure the maze only relates to the corpse under the church who turns out to be Melissa Leo’s husband. They kidnapped Taylor when he was a kid and he escaped but remembered the maze medallion and became obsessed with mazes and constantly drew them. What else is there?

  10. Chris says:

    I believe so, Ray. Theschu’s question is what I’m mildly irked about. Tons of talk about the maze and all of those medallions and the notes about getting out of the maze, and then there is no maze. (That could say more about me than the movie — maybe I was just more intrigued by the maze talk than I was supposed to be.)

  11. TheGhostofBelleStarr says:

    The one thing that bothered me in the movie ( just saw it) and I need an explanation for is how did the little black girl get away ? All of a sudden its announced she as ” found” and we next see her in the hospital with her mom and dad and the other kidnapped girls parents show up to try and get information. Just how did the little black girl get ” found” ? Also I could not hear what she ( the little black girl) said to Jackman in the hospital that made him tear out and head to the culprit’s ( old lady) house what did she say to him ?

  12. Joe Straatmann says:

    It seemed to me the whole maze thing was a stand in for religion. Replace the maze with a cross or other religious symbol and you can start to see what they’re getting at, though it was less effective for me because they were simultaneously too heavy handed and too subtle with it. The symbolism is so overwrought with Hugh Jackman’s character, but it’s very very slight with Detective Loki (Though, really? Detective LOKI?!). And then there’s the scene where I had to stifle a laugh when Melissa Leo literally breaks out the spiked grape Kool-Aid.

    It’s like a mix of non blockbuster Christopher Nolan movies with a less resonant ending because it feels like it doesn’t bring itself together as much as it stops. There are about a dozen resolutions revealed in about a minute and the movie nonchalantly wades through them. There are times when the film walks the line subtle filmmaking needs to walk, but there are also times when it feels like its shrugging things off. Oh, and then there are times when the Hugh Jackman character has the opening monologue with the Lord’s Prayer, has a cross in his car, he’s a carpenter…… yeah…….

    It’s one of those movies where I liked it, but you wouldn’t know it from talking to me.

  13. movieman says:

    I enjoyed “Prisoners.”
    It’s a well-made, nicely acted MAINSTREAM thriller, not the rarefied art flick the early reviews and cushy Telluride berth might have suggested.
    At heart, it felt like a solid 3-part HBO miniseries (akin to the BBC mini that aired on PBS this spring about the post-WW II British serial killer) where the director and writer weren’t impeded by time constraints and had the luxury of telling their story in a leisurely, as long-as-it-takes fashion.
    Really, the ultra-luxurious 153-minute running time is the only thing about “Prisoners” that felt remotely “arthouse” to me.
    “Zodiac” fans like myself will miss the ambiguity. But multiplex auds should eat it up. I predict long legs but negligible awards traction.

  14. firedancer says:

    I haven’t seen this movie yet, and I don’t think I can if one of the girls ends up dead. I read in a previous comment that the black girl is found. Can someone tell me if both girls are ultimately safe?

  15. Chris says:

    Well, I guess it is a spoiler thread: Both girls are safely returned home.

  16. Ray Pride says:

    You’d expect at least the children would be safe in a movie that cost more than $100,000….

  17. movieman says:

    The opening scene of Jackman and his son hunting is too spot-on for comfort, no?
    And the rushed, feel-good (sort of) wrap-up did feel like a bit of a cheat.
    Shouldn’t somebody (besides Leo; Jackman perhaps?) have perished?
    But it held me throughout (the juicy perfs definitely helped in that regard), and I think it “plays” very well to mainstream auds.
    Thought Gylenhaal’s facial tic was an interesting acting choice that worked.
    But my screening companion was annoyed that Jake never unbuttoned his top (shirt) button. Said it drove him crazy, lol.
    The film’s setting was so unremittingly bleak and depressing I bet the cast was mighty relieved when principal photography ended so they could finally leave that godforsaken place. It made Jamestown, New York and Steubenville, Ohio–two of the dreariest, saddest-looking U.S. cities–seem like Beverly Hills or Santa Barbara by comparison.

  18. Bulldog68 says:

    @TheGhostofBelleStarr: “The one thing that bothered me in the movie ( just saw it) and I need an explanation for is how did the little black girl get away ? All of a sudden its announced she as ” found” and we next see her in the hospital with her mom and dad and the other kidnapped girls parents show up to try and get information. Just how did the little black girl get ” found” ?”

    They did show you a flashback with both girls getting away and running out the door toward sunlight and someone grabbing the white girl back. The black girl was able to make it further into traffic and was grabbed by a woman. Put two and two together and she’s in the hospital. But also I thought I heard a weak voice over during the flashback say “If you finish the maze you get to go home.” So I got the quick impression that maybe one the girls did finish the maze.

    @TheGhostofBelleStarr:”Also I could not hear what she
    (the little black girl) said to Jackman in the hospital that made him tear out and head to the culprit’s ( old lady) house what did she say to him ?”

    She said to him that he was there, so they were still in the house when he paid Leo the first visit to “apologize” for his behavior.

    @Jeffrey Boam’s Doctor”There’s some ropey stuff when the first suspect disappears and the complete lack of follow-up from Gyllenhaal after knowing about Jackman’s assault on him.”

    I figured that Gyllenhaal wanted to put more attention on finding the two girls than a sleazy suspect. He did follow Jackman to the abandoned house. Plus with the acidic relationship he had with his captain who was always bellyaching about resources, he was like a virtual one man team on this case. It did strike me kind of odd that they did not have secondary cop characters also working on the case seeing that they could seemingly bring out dozens to to searches. But that may have been more volunteer townsfolk.

    I also thought the maze would play a more physical presence, but I think they didn’t want that type of movie. To me the maze symbolized the people involved in this kidnap mystery because they took you to so many dead ends and you had to double back and take it again from another angle.

    One quibble I had was they kept saying that Dano’s character had the intellect of a 10 year old. Jackman asked it in the movie I think but no answer was given as to how Dano could have a drivers license then. Even if it was an out of state license, once he could drive, unless he had some accident after he got his license, how could they reason that he had a 10 year old intellect.

    Also, I thought that Jackman would have just shouted at Leo before he was put in the hole that he had her son. I figured it was amazing that he didn’t bring that up in their final scene.

  19. OCmom says:

    Why do some of the victims get away? (like pig’s blood guy)One got adopted by them (Alex) and most are just thrown in holes to die? And why were these girls in the house instead of the hole?

  20. kmp says:

    We just watched this to day and come out of theater drained and confused. yes, the movie was good which is why we are frustrated and want answers!!
    1. What was the deal with the guy with the snakes? Was he in league with the woman and her son at all (however small) or not?
    2. When Joy wakes up in the hospital, why does she look at Hugh Jackman and recognize him as someone who ‘put tape’ on their mouths? yes, he was in the house when he went to talk to the aunt but why would she think that?
    3. What is the deal with this maze? The guy Jackman was holding for torture said that he needed to find the maze. It was made into a big deal but just kind of thrown in there.
    4. When Jackman was handcuffed by the aunt and held at gunpoint, why didnt he headbutt her at some point?… I recall a time when her guard was down Or run into her with the car when she forced him to drive and get out of the situation and go find his little girl?

  21. Taylor says:


    1. Guy with the snakes was a copy cat kidnapper — when he was a kid he got kidnapped by the women + son group, read the book about them, and then did play-acting with the mannequins and clothes.

    2. Wondering the same thing, think it might have been that she confused him with someone else…?

    3. –

    4. The gun was to his head before he started the car, it was pretty risky to try to run into her, and he was drugged.

  22. jl says:

    1. The guy with the snakes was a former victim of the aunt and uncle who started to emulate the uncle (who was the person the book the invisible man was based on) we learn that the aunts husband didn’t run off after fight but was indeed the man in the priests basement
    2. This bothered me too my best explanation is that at one point in the movie someone mentioned the victims being drugged with an LSD type drug, that may explain y the black girl “saw” him
    3. The guy Jackman was torturing was also a former victim of the invisible man…so was aware of the maze medallion he find the maze find the kidnapper..remember the nephew was actually a victim named Barry that the “aunt” and “uncle” “adopted”

  23. pj says:

    I am confused by people who are confused by this film. Everyone always complains there isn’t enough ‘smart’ films in theaters but when one actually comes along, it’s too smart or clever. It’s all in the film as jl notes in his concise summary.

  24. Chris says:

    So, pj, you are using a post with serious subject/verb agreement and punctuation issues to suggest that some people aren’t smart enough for “Prisoners?” (And I don’t think the film is confusing but I do think there are a couple holes.)

  25. Angie S says:

    Help! Just left the movie – why did the girl in the hospital look at Hugh Jackman’s character and say ” you were there- u taped our mouths” ???? Totally lost with that !

  26. MM says:

    Joy says “You were there, she put tape on my mouth”. She’s referring the Jackman’s first visit to the kidnappers house when he came under guise of apologizing for scaring Alex in order to inquire about the maze. When Jackman came to visit, the kidnapper taped the girls mouths so Jackman would not hear them. When she said this in the hospital, Jackman realized what she meant and left to return to the kidnappers house.

  27. Angie S says:

    Thank u, makes perfect sense now!

  28. Alan W says:

    So, was the copy cat killer a victim of the aunt and the husband from years ago? Or was he just straight up a copy cat from reading the invisible man book?

  29. Scott Wallace says:

    I really want this movie to be more than it perhaps is. Several questions….

    1) What was the purpose of making sure the audience saw all the masonic zodiac stuff on Detective Loki? Was that tied in to something else that a more attentive moviegoer would catch? I’m no symbologist or masonic conspiracy theory expert, but between that, the maze medallion, and frankly Mr. Gyhellenhal’s own movie history (ie-Zodiac), it makes me think that there is more there than was blatantly alluded to. Any theories anybody???

    2) Paul Dano’s character. Seems a broken person, but not a bad person. Yet he nearly hangs/strangles the dog just for ‘fun’, and on a couple occasions seems to mock Hugh Jackman’s character by alluding to knowing the girls and even perhaps where they are. Inconsistent? Or expected that he’d be a little wacked out given what has happened to him in life?

    3) Everyone in the world knew Melissa Leo’s character had a gun under the towel at the end, and so should have Jackman’s character. Just sayin’.

    4) “We are at war with God. We take away hope and turn people into demons….like you”. Spooky line that defines and explains her character’s motivations. But that is the beginning and end of it. It is the screenwriter’s right to keep as much mystery as he or she wants, but knowing a little more about their “values” and beliefs would have been at least interesting. Are they Satanists? Part of some cult that doesn’t believe in any deity and seeks to cause people to doubt the existence of a God? What does the maze necklace represent? It clearly is a central part of the symbology of their beliefs. But ultimately, it seems the movie just showed the maze as a tease and it ultimately meant nothing, other than the means by which Detective Loki pieced things together.

    I think the movie was great and it is the mark of a great movie that it has so many people wanting to understand it better, or at least want it to mean more than perhaps the writers ever intended themselves…

  30. kahunter says:

    The little black girl heard hugh jackman when he came to the house. Thats hwy she said “you were there.” She couldnt make a noise but heard his voice. Thats what i got out of it.

  31. Nick Rogers says:

    Scott: In regard to the “war with God,” Melissa Leo’s character mentioned something about her son dying of cancer, which they couldn’t reconcile against their own deeply professed faith. So I interpreted that as her and her husband’s MO to retaliate against fellow devout people (like Keller) by taking their kids (as hers was taken) and leaving them to ponder their inexplicable disappearance / presumed death. As for the maze necklace, well … maybe it was just a mojo pendant infused with spooky symbolism.

  32. tim says:

    My interpretation is this. Melissa Leo and her husband lost their child to cancer and lost faith in God. They began abducting children, giving them LSD like drugs and giving them mazes with no solution and telling them they can leave when they finish the maze. Their goal was to torture the parents and children and cause them to lose their faith in God. In my mind the mazes represent religion (in that it cannot be solved) and the LSD represents the effect of religion (general craziness). Originally the idea for the mazes came from her husband and he wore the pendant. Years back, the husband had some kind of crises of conscious and confessed to the priest, who killed him and put him in the basement. The wife more or less stopped abducting without him, but kept Alex who is more or less pickled from the drugs and brainwashed with mazes. Alex probably got the license in an earlier and less compromised state.
    The escape of the girl is alluded to both in the flashback, and Leo’s admission that the girls had been moved hastily when the police were looking through the home.
    I loved this film, but the biggest holes for me were:

    1) Once Jackman knew where his girl was you’d think he’d shot first and ask questions later.

    2) If the house had been discovered as a massive child torture abduction ring, there would have been “scent dogs” and it would be swarming with all types of law enforcment.

    But still that final shot with the wind and the whistle haunts my dreams.

  33. Harris says:

    The girl in the hospital says ‘you were there. she put tape on our mouths’. Because she heard him in the house. That’s how he suddenly knew where they were being kept – cause the only places he has been for days is his house, the apt building and that house.

    My theory with the mazes is this: Melissa Leo’s husband was really into mazes and snakes, and he is the child killer the book “The Invisible Man” is about. And he had a maze book where the last maze was unsolvable. He liked telling the captured kids that if they solved all the mazes they would be let free, knowing they would never solve the last one. The crazy guy was one of their victims who somehow got away. But he kept trying to solve that last maze (even when he was in custody). And he got lots of trunks to trap snakes as revenge.

  34. Zero5859 says:

    First of all, why is this movie called Prisoner while there are no prisoner in this film?

  35. David Poland says:

    Have you seen the film, Zero? There are multiple prisoners through the film

  36. chris says:

    Indeed. I can think of at least five literal prisoners, to say nothing of the metaphorical ones.

  37. Yancy says:

    Right. They’re all prisoners, even Melissa Leo (as a prisoner of her hatred)

  38. Lia says:

    I loved the movie, Jake’s character Loki was incredibly interesting. I was left wanting to know more about him than the rest of the cast. So at one of the premieres I chased him down and and picked his brain about the process for creating the backstory for his character. The button up shirt Jake said was a sign of his character being ashamed of his tattoos he was supposed to have gotten at an early age.The nervous tick came from previous childhood trauma and Freemason ring was dabbling in it in his criminal days. He was supposed to be a criminal turn cop obsessed with work and no girlfriend or kids because of his solitary personality. He said he was a guy who was a prisoner of his past and his own mind. He said he was hard to shake after shooting wrapped. I also spoke to Paul Dano who was creepy in the movie. But in the end I was incredibly sympathetic to him considering all he’d been through; being abducted at an early age and then tortured for a crime he didn’t commit. Paul Dano was actually really sweet in real life which was disarming. The whole cast was amazing although I wish the women and Howard and Davis’ characters took a more active role. Jake Gyllenhaal and Paul Dano said the whole cast kept it really light and friendly in between takes shooting in a lonely eerie poverty stricken town in Georgia I believe.

  39. Jermsguy says:

    I thought it was great. I agree with an earlier quibble that my biggest problem was I recognized the maze symbol right away and had to wait half an hour for Loki to accidentally notice it on the picture.

  40. Valay says:

    Why the snakes ?

  41. Jermsguy says:

    The snakes were an early method of torture/intimidation that the husband/wife used on their victims. Leo said that Alex’s “accident” involved a snake.

  42. Stephanie says:

    So why did Holly and her husband let the Taylor kid go? Remember she said she had forgotten about him until she read about him in the paper. And he seemed to have an IQ of a 10 year old as well. What did he do for money to buy children’s clothing and have a house? And did do you think whatever Holly and her husband drugged the kids with affected their intellect? I know Anna had been drugged, but when she was wheeled into the room to talk to Loki, she almost seemed as “out of it” as Alex.

  43. Andrea says:

    The maze like feeling comes from the drugs. Ketamine and LSD can both make you have different kinds of hallucinations, and a bad trip on these drugs is often described as a maze.

    The whole maze thing I think may be a reference to Alice in Wonderland and the rabbit hole concept is played with in the whole movie, all in all I found it interesting but I felt let down by the ending.

  44. DK says:

    I just saw the film for the first time and I’m really tired as it’s gone 3.30am here now, but I felt compelled to put my thoughts down as something resonated with me philosophically. Apologies if my train of thought gets erratic as I type this.

    Maybe the maze represents our perception of reality or life itself. We didn’t design the maze but we were born into what seems to be a carefully constructed version of reality, and just like someone who is trapped in some type of spiritual labyrinth – we search for the truth of our existence, or a metaphorical way out (the ultimate answer).

    However, religion in its current form keeps us hitting dead ends, like a highly orchestrated puzzle. A distraction perhaps, like so many other things in life, from our true purpose or true divinity. Just like a brainwashing drug, religion can keep people hypnotised. It can limit our perception of what’s possible, or not possible, and keeps us locked in a certain controlled version of reality – people can ‘numb’ themselves or others to deal with the unwanted truths they find in front of them, or in fact to make up for a lack of answers. Again, just like certain psychotropic drugs – pretty prevalent in the film.

    Maybe we only reach the ‘end’ of the maze in our darkest hours, or at the time of death itself (the suicide in the film, possibly?), as it’s implied that this maze – or life as we know it – is unsolvable. Bad things happen and people question their faith or abandon all hope completely (the ‘aunt’ character) We then adjust our paths through this maze based on our experiences, in search of the answer, or the ‘real’ truth.

    I think the concept of a maze implies that there is a creator of this world, maybe it’s just not the benevolent God most often written about. Some people hit a ‘dead end’ or take a wrong turn on life’s path. This can usually be straight into the arms of a malevolent force, corrupting either just themselves or by taking everyone with them depending on the type of influence. Which leads me on to the snakes, eg. Garden of Eden, Satan’s immoral temptations, maybe symbolic of certain cults that still operate under the illusion of not actually existing – the devil’s greatest trick perhaps (the invisible man). A representation of something we should fear even though we don’t fully understand its meaning straight away.

    Possibly we have all dabbled with the dark side unwittingly via certain immoral temptations or via life changing events – we can all be brainwashed, especially at a time of intense trauma and mostly without our consent. We can do things seemingly against our principles, out of character and all in the name of what we personally believe is moral in the context of a given situation, like Keller for example.

    I also think there is a lot to do with trauma based mind control of children in this movie, both allegorically and literally. In the movie it is administered via sensory deprivation and cocktails of drugs, and shows how this affects adults in their later life. Some are haunted by abuse, both physical and mental, and never recover, whilst some victims compartmentalise events deep within their psyche, creating alternate personalities/versions of reality to cope. Whereas some victims control/beat the demons and do everything in their power to stop it happening to others. Like Loki.

    Allegorically, religion itself is usually delivered through indoctrination from a young age. The ultimate brainwashing perhaps? A lot of the above also links with the occult and possibly Freemasonry but I will let others do their own research into such vast topics. Other comments have touched on said themes/symbolism as well.

    Maybe we are all prisoners, of our own mind.

    Once again I apologise if my train of thought wondered slightly back there, or if my grammar failed me, but I had to write something before I went to sleep! I enjoyed the film but thought it could have done a few things slightly differently.

  45. Daniel says:

    Your all wrong. The maze is the most important part of the movie. It takes root in every part of the story. There are so many angles to this movie. None of them make sense. The movie IS an unsolvable maze. BOOM!!!!

  46. Timboslice says:

    You sir, are also wrong. Kind of. Technically every movie is open to every persons interpretation. And while a lot of these ideas are very insightful, I think some people relating the mazes to religion and LSD to the craziness and delusions of religion, are maybe reading too much into it. What I got out of it anyway, was that the last maze in the book was unsolvable. Therefore, Holly’s husband wore it around his neck to symbolize, or represent, all the kidnappings they performed that went unsolved. Almost like his personal calling card. And I think it was symbolic to Holly and her husband, not necessarily just symbolic in the film.

  47. Og says:

    When Anna is looking at Loki in the hospital when she’s supposed to thank him – the look in her eyes is totally creepy….

  48. cadavra says:

    Finally caught up with this today and found it riveting and well-acted; didn’t feel long at all. Two points no one’s mentioned yet:

    1) Roger Deakins, for fuck’s sake! And he’s gonna get screwed again this year by all the numbskull Academy members who’ll vote for 85 minutes of green screen.

    2) The one thing that bothered me is that it was obvious fairly early on who the real kidnapper was. Why? Because they cast an Academy Award-winner buried under pounds of make-up for what was essentially a bit part until the last half-hour. Had they gone with a more working-stiff (and age-appropriate) actress–e.g., Margo Martindale, Cherry Jones, Christine Lahti–they might have fooled me. But Melissa Leo? She practically had a giant neon sign over her head flashing GUILTY! GUILTY! GUILTY!

  49. Lisa says:

    So what I am confused about is the little black girl at the hospital says to Hugh Jackman’s character “You were there, YOU put tape over our mouths”. I went and saw it a second time to be sure and that is exactly what she said, she accused him of being there and putting tape over their mouths and then he bolted out of the hospital……I don’t understand that at all.

  50. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    Cadavra – yes
    Melissa Leo was the Michael Rooker in Sea of Love moment.

  51. Kat says:

    Actually the maze or labyrinth was used in early Christian circles. Walking the maze was a way monks would get closer to God. The medieval labyrinths are in churches throughout France, and given the Quebecois background of the director I wouldn’t be surprised if he was familiar with this tradition. So in a way the maze is a metaphor for Hugh Jackman’s journey through the film.

    Very enjoyable film, if not for a few plot holes here and there. And I was sitting in the film thinking the cinematography was amazing, and low and behold, it’s Roger Deakins!

  52. EO says:

    That strange brown drink Melissa Leo gave to the kids and Hugh: it’s snake poison! She says at one point it will keep him calm (explains why he didn’t try to attack her). We can confirm that when in the end the researcher guys say the only thing they found burried in the backyard where dead snakes. She also said at one point she and her husband loved snakes, and that the drink was an old recipe her husband use to prepare.

    Taylor keeps drawing mazes because the husband made his victims solve an unsolvable labyrinth – the last one in the book about the invisible man. Taylor (we don’t know how) managed to escape (did he solve the labyrinth after all?), and became a copy cat of his rapper (in a ilusional way). Hence he imprisons snakes with kids clothes (represent the kids poisoned with the drink), and buries plastic kids in his backyard.

    Quite disappointed in how Villeneuve become so hollywood-influenced (the car race in the end!!), compared to his last exquisite movie Incendies. Nevertheless it was interesting to solve all these unclear elements mainly by your sharing.

    Give it a 7/10

  53. Sandie says:

    Just saw the movie last night – it was fabulous! The scene that bothered me was Loki’s interrogation of Tayor where he grabbed Loki’s gun and shot himself. (1) I don’t think guns are allowed in interrogations rooms. (2) Wouldn’t Det. Loki have been suspended pending an investigation of that incident? Instead his boss tried to have a drink with him and said as much as “oh well.” Jake was wonderful – everyone was. First rate – left me exhausted. Hope there are some nominations at Oscar time.

  54. Pedro says:

    Hello, first of all I need to tell I’m sorry about my english. I’m from Brazil and I don’t have too much practice in english.

    I have a disclaimer to do. This is my opinion about an aspect of the movie, I’m not a member of any pagan culture. I’m not a christian either. I don’t agree with a lot of things I believe the script discuss, I’m just thinking about it.

    I absolutely loved this film because it works perfectly in both objective (the literal events of the narrative) and metaphoric angles (the simbolism).

    I don’t know if someone already put these things the way I’m going to do, but I think this is one of the strongest messages in the script, besides the well known ‘moral issues’, ‘how far would someone go to save a beloved one’.

    So Here I go:

    #1 – The Movie starts with a prayer to the lord. In the scene we observe father and son hunting a deer. Later, in THANKSGIVING, the son explains the hunting with ‘populational control’, teached by his father. This is a christian-man-over-nature principle. Man as the higher creation of god, which is able to manipulate nature to it’s own benefit. As we know, pagan cultures are often much more ‘nature-friendly’, seeing the humans as part of nature itself.

    #2 – The ‘evil event’ of the narrative is so misterious and strange that only gets clear when analized in a simbolic aproach. We have the kidnapping of children, the labyrinth and the snakes. Snakes, as known, is a symbol of evil in christian mythology. So, this evil is linked with christianism itself. The movie also tell us that this evil is ‘at war with god’, you can only be at war with god if you assume his existence.

    #3 – I can be wrong but the husband of the old lady seemed somehow native-american, indian. I’m not sure. When she gives Hugh Jackman’s character the strange drink, she says ‘It’s an old recipe from my husband’, somekind of an ancient knowledge, mystic. In the literal perspective, it’s just a trace of the character, but in simbolism it brings us the memory of the annihilation of the native beliefs of indians through Catechism. It’s an historic process in all over the world. So ‘the war with god’ is somekind of a revenge that reveals the success of catechism, because the existence of god, even as an enemy, is assumed.

    #4 – So, the LABYRINTH IS ACTUALLY A MANDALA. The Mandala is a geometric form usually seen in non-christian (so, pagan) beliefs, even in native american mythology. So, the movie is telling us about the corruption of an symbol by christianism, losing the original meaning of the symbol. Christianism did it with pagan gods, turning them into forms of satan. So when we have a mandala treated as a labyrinth wih no escape, it’s an negative interpretation, a man trapped.

    #5 – We have the strange character of Taylor. Going direclty to symbolism we have a man who is obsessed with a book, and treats as literal as possible, even seeing the labyrinth as a real labyrinth (and not a mandal). For me it can be read as a metaphor with bible-obssed and misinterpretation.

    #6 – The ‘evil’ of the film reveals the challenge ‘escape the labyrinth/solve the puzzle’ and you’ll get your prize. It’s impossible to escape the labyrinth if you see it as a labyrinth. So, the father, Keller, enters in a cycle of violence because he’s a christian and belevies in the labyrinth, not in the mandala. So he becomes an aspect of the same thing, a part of evil, of misinterpretation.

    #7 – The ‘Hero’ of the film, the character wich is more virtuous is the most obvious symbol. His name is LOKI (Norse Mythology God, non-christian) wich has an 8 pointed star tattoo (Non-christian symbol) and Astrology tattoos in his hands (non-christian beliefs, pagan oriented). In the end of the film, Kellers can only be saved by this pagan symbol, the only one who can naturally overcome the labyrinth.

    #8 – A polemic moment in the film is the ‘false twist’ when Joy says that Keller was in the kidnapping event. We can solve this in the literal aspect saying that she is dazed. But as an metaphor, she (the movie) is saying that he is just like the ‘villain’, just another side of the same perspective of violence and anguish. Not in war with god but doing harm believing in his forgivness.

    Well, of course is difficult for me to elaborate these train of thought in other language. I’m curious to read what you think about it, if you agree or disagree and in what parts. I’m not claiming to be right, I just want to discuss!

    Thank you.

  55. Ryan Alden says:

    the significance of the maze is that the kidnappers give their victims a book (Finding the Invisible Man) and tell them that if they can solve all of the mazes they can go home. (This is seen in Joy’s flashback in the hospital bed)

    The last maze is UNSOLVABLE (the medical examiner says this to Loki) meaning that the children will never finish the mazes and will never be set free.

    This seems to have traumatized Taylor and possibly Alex. Taylor escaped (I don’t believe this is explained) but Alex stays with his “aunt” possibly so that the kidnappers have someone who will keep their victims company/someone to lure victims in?

    In the hospital, Joy says “you were there… they put tape on our mouths”

    meaning that Keller was there, she heard him talking, but she and Anna couldn’t cry out to him because their mouths were taped.

    Keller doesn’t fight back because he was drugged and therefore his reflexes and strength were greatly reduced.

    The only actions I take issue with are:
    He turned his back on someone who he knew to be a kidnapper, and a crafty, deceitful one at that.

    He willingly went into the hole. Yeah Yeah I know she shot him first, but at that point I would have stood my ground. If she shoots you, someone might hear and she at least has to clean things up.

    If she gets you in the hole, it’s game over unless Loki stumbles onto the scene thanks to dumb luck (I don’t think he suspected the “aunt” at all until the house was suspiciously empty and then he saw the photo of her husband with the medallion)

  56. David says:

    When the dark skin girl is escaping there is man that tries to grab her any idea who that would be since Hugh has Alex in his dad’s house and Taylor was dead by that stage?

  57. SHANNON says:


  58. V says:

    Hi, I am from Europe and English is not my primary language so forgive for any mistakes.

    There I go with my “conspiracy theory” :-)
    In the movie Alex is presented as a mentally ill with an IQ of a 10 year old boy. His name is Jones.
    His full name is Alex Jones!
    I am wondering how many of you know who really Alex Jones is? Well he’s got a web site called “prisonplanet” (what coincidence, or not)and he fights against New World Order. There is a lots of symbolism in this movie, amongst them a masonic ring which Loki wears! I think they means (you know who runs Hollywood) – Illuminati are trying to discredit real Alex Jones giving this sick character the name Alex Jones.
    Or maybe its just my maze…

  59. Pantheonic says:

    Hey V, I think the movie was making fun of Alex Jones (the talk show host) because he’s an idiot. The makers of the movie aren’t “illuminati”. They are normal, reasonable people who see Alex Jones for what he is, a babbling, borderline-psychotic raving lunatic, and they were making fun of him. To discredit Alex Jones you need only have a normally functioning brain and to listen to him for a few minutes.

  60. Neish says:

    Just one question a lot of mine were already answered so thank you guys but why did the guy with snakes go into jackmans home and terrance howards home?

  61. Neish says:

    And im starting to think alex didnt have a low iq i think he would just b drugged at the aunts house because she said he couldnt talk that well or whatever but he talked fine to me when he did talk

  62. Ray Pride says:


  63. Maria says:

    This movie to me is very confusing.
    – Why did the little girl say “You were there. . You put tape on our mouths” something like that .
    – What happened to the Alex guy they had in the old house?
    – Did they ever find the dad of the other little girl (the white one) ? I think his name was Keller Dover . .

  64. Peggy says:

    No one has mentioned this in any discussion, but ironically, Keller kept the girls alive by kidnapping Alex. At one point Holly says, “I kept the girls alive because I missed Alex,” or something to that effect.

  65. Steve says:

    The black girl thought she saw Keller because she heard him talking to Leo when he went to “apologize”. Then she heard his voice again in The hospital, so her confused, drugged mind thought she saw him

  66. Steve says:

    Did the tattoo on lokis hand say maze?

  67. Khinle says:

    If Alex wasn’t a kidnapper why did he say they didn’t cry until I left them.

  68. dskoulik says:

    the most weird thing is the ”maze guy” was he corporating with the old lady or he was acting alone? Detec.Loki says that he was kidnapping when he was a child and escaped after 3 weeks,before he kills his self he draw a maze, i think that he draw the shape of the medallion of his kidnapper just to show Loki who kidnapped him in the past(Holly Jones’s husband)and my big question is why he was robing staff from girl’s house filled it with pigs blood and kept it enclosed?

    Just to mention something in my opinion he was keeping those clothes and staffs with the snakes because he was afraid of the Holly Jones would find it….Holly mentions he was afraid snakes

  69. Heather says:

    How did the little girls whistle, which had been gone 130+ days, get down in the hole her father was eventually thrown in? It’s the only question I was left with…..Why was that down there? Did the girls find it before being abducted or was it taken by the abductors in some sort of ‘casing’ scenario. Was that ever addressed?

  70. robbin says:

    What is a mystery to me is did Loki when he heard the whistle did he find keller. It just went off. Not fair

  71. Karin says:

    Who did the medical examiner say wrote the book Finding the Invisible Man? Is that the book of mazes or was it a book about a child abductor?

  72. pia says:

    Why did alex taunt keller into thinking he was involved? Or was he referring to the other kidnapped children who cried when he left them? He may not have laid a hand on the girls as joy said but that doesn’t mean he didn’t know about their kidnapping or where they were. So could it be said that keller was right to believe he knew something or was hiding some information? Also, car drivers- esp in a small town- absolutely move ut of the way for sirens blaring on a flashing light car. Lazy close to the suspenseful film. And as police investigated the grounds of alex jones home Would they not have discovered the cave hole beneath the car? This loki cop who solved every crime he was assigned “missed” the cave that was right there in practically plain sight? And I was disappointed how loki stumbled upon joy as the criminal. …he went to the home not knowing she was the kidnapper. An unearned resolution.

  73. Lindsay says:

    My biggest question: how did the bloody clothing get into that snake-guy’s trunk? If he didn’t have anything to do with the murder? And why would their clothes have pig’s blood on them, or any blood for that matter, if they weren’t injured? Can’t make that connection.

  74. Meigan says:

    Great movie. Everything came together in the end in my opinion. My 1 question is why did some people in the earlier comments say that the invisible man book was written about the husband? Did i miss something that the medical examiner said? In other words who could’ve wrote the book knowing it was about a real child abductor but not turn him in?

  75. Linda says:

    Did the police captain say, “I’m going home Gyllenhaal.”

  76. Anonymous says:

    What was the drug that the old lady (holly jones) inject in Anna?

  77. kevy says:

    did anyone notice detective lokie had a tattoo on his right hand across his fingers that said maze?

  78. Austin4872 says:

    When the Joy is escaping, there is man that tries to grab her! Any idea who that would be?! Because Keller has Alex in his dad’s house and Taylor was dead by that stage? I’m SOO CONFUSED!!

  79. Sheryl says:

    Austin- that wasn’t a man stopping the two little girls from escaping. It was the Crazy Aunt trying to stop the girls. However, the little black girl still makes it out of the house.

  80. JJ says:

    I noticed this thread has a lot of questions and answers from back in september when the movie was showing in theaters. Now that the movie has been release on DVD, there’s another round of questions but no one is interested in answering. I guess all the people with the answers have lost interest. My take on this movie is that it’s decent if you are not really paying attention… Say for example you are watching this and surfing on your tablet at the same time. That way, you get the overall story but you miss all the BIG ASS PLOT HOLES and all the shit that doesn’t make sense in the movie!

    Anyway, here are my top seven problems with this movie –

    1. Alex Jones kidnapped the girls! No matter what kind of stupid logic they try to use in the movie to make him appear innocent, the fact is, he took the girls in his RV (to his crazy kidnapper aunt’s house!) and did nothing when she decided to keep them. So that makes him a conspirator or an accomplice at the very least.

    2. In the real world, unless Alex Jones had secretly gone through SEAL training or some shit like that, he would have told everything he knew when subjected to the kind of torture that was depicted.

    3. The constant reference to the “maze” was annoying and didn’t even make any sense in some parts. Worst example is after Alex Jones has been burned by the scalding water and tells Keller Dover “they’re in the maze”. WTF was that about? On a side note, let’s completely disregard the effects of SCALDING water would have had on him physically.

    4. Why would Bob Taylor (the kid drawing all the mazes) give a false confession and then commit suicide? Or is that just another cheap movie tactic to create some weak misdirection?

    5. How did Alex Jones survive over a week without water or food in freezing conditions, with his face and body bashed in with burns from the aforementioned scalding water? He must be the baddest, toughest person on the planet!

    6. Why would Bob Taylor break into the parents houses to steal their kid’s clothes? The movie tries some lame ass logic about him being a copycat…but that doesn’t explain why he would steal real victim’s clothes. And has he been stealing clothes from every other child abduction victim? The more you think about it the less sense this part of the story line make. Seems like yet another cheap ass attempt to set up some misdirection by making the parents think their kids are dead because they ID’d some bloody clothes. Which bring up my biggest problem with the movie…

    7. What stupid dumb fuck parents would not remember what their kids were wearing when they got abducted and instead ID some other random pieces of clothing? What the fuck kind of lazy writers came up with that gem of an idea?

    So, those are my issues with the movie. In the time it took me to write this, my grade for the movie just went from a C to an F…

  81. Grace says:

    Hi ! I have a question for you guys. Is the “invisble man” book real or it is just a imaginary book from the film ?

  82. Bill says:

    I wanna go Jay and Silent Bob on at least the first 12 retards on this thread and then a random selection of equally pretentious assholes that have not one single glimpse of a clue of what was going on in this film. I wanted to find a maze when I performed a google search for “Finding the invisible man maze” instead I found a maze of half breed asshole pompous piece of shit retards that didn’t even pay attention to the movie. Yay me. Thanks a lot. By the way…to the whole “how did the black girl escape, did they even show that?” yeah, they did… She ran away and left Anna there… Watch the movie and then comment. Fuck.

  83. Paul says:

    I enjoyed the movie (that’s the most important thing) but

    [1] Totally agree on the unnecessary maze stuff that didn’t pay off satisfactorily which relegates it to “distraction” a.k.a. “contrivance”.
    [2]Didn’t get why Taylor was breaking into people’s houses when he was *also* buying clothes (if there was a reason for that it wasn’t developed)
    [3] Regardless of mental development Alex Jones seemed utterly resistant to torture. Hard to suspend disbelief.
    [4] Too many scenes ended with a fade out, which again smacks of editing/story issues.
    [5] Forensics with a boom box playing- lol.

  84. TV Fanatic says:

    It was a great movie! But c’mon, the fact that the Wolverine couldn’t take an old woman was a bit unreal.

  85. Marty says:

    Why were the kidnappers kidnapping kids? For what? Definitly not for ransome. Then why were they kidnapping children? Just to do puzzles??

  86. YouMewe says:

    I was annoyed with the ending the most. It is logical that dad would be saved. But it is up to watcer to het interested. And then if you research about the movie you find all sort of other questions.
    Maze is simbil, the center of maze is the hole under car. The car is ordinary object from life that hidens the maze (the hole).
    We seek the answer what is the center of the maze, not how to get out.

    And finally. The black girl saids to father “you taped our mouth” the aunt sais “like you”.
    In center of maze we all all one, but as we get more distance from the maze then we get more individual.

    And there is no other answer than the one that you chose to believe in.
    That is why I am you, you are we and we are it!

  87. Carl says:

    Hi everyone! Love this film and did just finished watching it for the second time with my family. I didnt noticed it the first time I saw it, but at some point Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) looks in some old newspaper and finds out that Keller (Hugh Jackman) dad who were a prison guard took his own life at his house and that his child (Keller) watched it. I just wondering what this has to do with the plot and the movie in total?

    Im Swedish so maybe not the best spelling but i hope u guys understand and can explain this 😀

  88. MS says:

    I think the article about Keller’s father killing himself is just to point detective Loki towards Campello (?) Street where Keller’s house is, which Keller was trying to hide his intentions about earlier.

    RE: how Bob Taylor affords to make a living.. he seems to be higher functioning than Alex/Barry so I wouldn’t be surprised if he could hold a steady job (or handouts and/or parental support). He could’ve also hidden from his captors for a while if he escaped.

    Mmm.. as for my thoughts about the rest of the film, I originally loved it to bits but after reading some of the comments I’m a little more reserved. Unusually, none of the “plot holes” bothered me as much as it did some of you and it’s actually more the tying up of all the ends a little too neatly I have gripes with (Alex being revealed as Barry Conyers? Really?). Now that I think about it, Villeneuve did the same thing in Incendies. I’m also still not quite sure what to make of Taylor’s boxes of snakes and clothes (I’d really like to get a full rundown on what people think his motives are – right now I just think obsession leading to play acting).

  89. RockersofNote says:

    The maze… firstly, it was on a necklace of the dead man found at the priest (registered sex offender) neck when he was found by the detective. The man had gone there for confession, telling the priest that he had killed 16 children, (along with Holly. There son had died at an early age and they raged against God.)

    Secondly, when the detective (Loki) goes to Holly’s house, he picks up a photograph of a man (Holly’s husband who dissapeared) and he also has a maze on a necklace.

    The man who bought childrens clothes at the store, who subsequently shot himself at the police station, was a child kidnapped by Holly and her husband, as was Alex, who’s mother showed Loki a video of him when he was 5, his name was originally Barry.

    The children were always told to finish the maze and they could go home. it was not solvable.

    The Father (main character) is found in the end.

  90. cdenns says:

    I was curious about who grabbed Anna when the girls tried to escape. The body type was of a lanky person. Then i went through the movie and examined everyone’s body type and jacket. I have cone to the conclusion that it was Bob Taylor that grabbed her. When he was running away from Loki you could see the seam at the waist of his jacket. I believe he had more to do with the kidnappings that was let on and it tortured his soul.

  91. Michelle says:

    I have a version of how this film may have ended after it faded to black. Certainly the detective isn’t just going to ignore the sound and will seek out the source and ultimately find Keller. Now why choose to wait until Loki is completely alone when he finds Keller? My theory is that is because he won’t turn him in,but will give him a chance to start his life over with his family, so he will hide out until his daughter is well enough to leave the hospital and then leave with his wife and children. Imagine finding that poor traumatized girl, reuniting her with her family and then imprisoning her father. How do you recover after that. I believe Loki understands Keller better than most, consider the level of his frustration and aggression towards Bobby Taylor, who like Alex turns out to just be a victim himself. His actions in that moment certainly contributed to his suicide so it would stand to reason that Loki can sympathize with Keller.

    After all was said and done I think I felt the most sympathy and grief for the poor soul of Barry AKA Alex. He is so broken after being kidnapped and systematically abused for 26 years, emotionally, mentally and no doubt physically. But even in his mental state he tries in his own way to “tell” people what he needs to, such as saying they didn’t start crying until he left, that he “isn’t Alex” and the clue about the “mazes”.

  92. Man you need to make a prisoners 2 that movie is epic awesome need more movies like this.awesome actors and actresses

  93. Modina says:

    Holly was the one driving the camper van! There was no way Alex could’ve driven it as he had the IQ of a 10 year old! Alex wanted the kids to go for a ride and Holly probrably agreed until they got to their home. In the beginning no one saw who exactly was driving the vehicle just that there was someone in if. Holly in a way framed Alec by leaving him in near the woods because she knew he won’t speak. Alex panicked when the cops came, took him a while to start the car and tried driving it hence him driving it up a tree because he can’t drive and it’s normally his ‘aunt’ who drives to collect children.

  94. Corrina says:

    This movie left me with the feeling of unfinished business. Why didn’t Alex confess, surely no food or water to eat and drink, having to stand or sit in that bathtub with no light or jacket for a week seemed hard to believe. And the guy drawing the maze is seriously fucked up. Whose house is he living in and how did he Burt those plastic bodies outside in the yard without anybody seeing him do it. It didn’t look like a backyard. And where do you buy a who,e pigs head, if he could cut into the flesh of an animal reguardless if it’s already dead, than that person is someone who could hurt another human being. And as confused as he was you mean to tell me he goes in other people’s home and looks for and takes clothing without getting caught. As far as Holly goes, the Aunt, I would have never got into that hole. If she would have shot me dead, how in the hell is she going to dispose of my body. The maze left everybody scratching their heads, should have made more reference to it cause I don’t know what. The snakes in the trunk would have suffocated by two days and where did the crazy guy buy those at and where does he get his money. Neighbors never noticed anything quite off with him and the fact that no one comes over and this guy cannot hold an intelligent conversation.. The mom played by Maria Bello never lets signs of guilt ( not being able to protect her daughter ) or anger, angry at the fact that someone took her daughter, I mean in other words How Dare a They, How Could They, Who Gave Them permission or the Right To Take and possibly seriously harm her child. In all I enjoyed the movie. Any feedback pls I welcome it. Oh and being an animal lover and activist I found the deer shooting scene unessessary and the pig head scene I felt bad for that innocent unsuspecting animal. It enraged me to the point I wanted that crazy guy to get the shit beat out of him.

  95. Corrina says:

    Why was Alex just sitting there with his camper parked near the woods right up against a tree? How long had he been there and how long after the Aunt took the kids did he go to this spot? I just want to say that reading everyone’s comments really helped me understand this movie so much better. 85% of the people who left their comments all seem to agree on the same things. I didn’t like the fact that the priest was a child abuser. And now a murderer. That wasn’t an easy thing for a priest to do, seal up a living person n their basement and then try to forget when the moment of actual death occurred. Creepy

  96. Corrina says:

    How did a big-ass hole in the yard get that big and without collapsing or caving in. Also it looks to be quite a distance from the house. I guess their are no neighbors and the hole in in the backyard cause dragging bodies back and forth from the house to the hole, that’s easy to see from the street.

  97. Winston says:

    Why is no one asking about how the culprit was caught? The caught scene made no sense. Why did the old woman allow the detective to come inside the house to see her drugging Anna? She acted like she deliberately wanted to be caught. That made no sense. All through the movie she was brilliant and then she does the stupidest thing. It was never explained. Why didnt she just answer the door and tell the detective “ok thanks for telling me. Ill pick up my nephew soon.” And then he would have left, and then she could have drugged the girl again with another injection. That would have been the safe and logical move. So why did she do the opposite and why did she leave the front door unlocked, especially since she had something to hide? Why are all front doors unlocked in movies, especially if theres something to hide inside? This is the big mystery at the end. Not the whistle heard by the detective. Why is no one else talking about this? Strange. Wtf?!

The Hot Blog

Quote Unquotesee all »

“With every table in the dining room occupied and me, the only waiter, neglecting the needs of a good fifty patrons, I approached Roth. Holding out Balls as a numbness set into the muscles of my face, I spoke. “Sir, I’ve heard you say that you don’t read fiction anymore, but I’ve just had my first novel published and I’d like to give you a copy.”

“His eyes lifting from his iPhone, he took the book from my hands. He congratulated me. Then, staring at the cover, he said, “Great title. I’m surprised I didn’t think of it myself.”

“These words worked on me like a hit of morphine. Like two hits. It felt as if I was no longer the occupant of my own body. The legs had gone weak, the ears warmed, the eyes watered, the heart rate increased rapidly. Barely able to keep myself upright, I told him, “Thank you.”

“Then Roth, who, the world would learn sixteen days later, was retiring from writing, said, in an even tone, with seeming sincerity, “Yeah, this is great. But I would quit while you’re ahead. Really, it’s an awful field. Just torture. Awful. You write and write, and you have to throw almost all of it away because it’s not any good. I would say just stop now. You don’t want to do this to yourself. That’s my advice to you.”

“I managed, “It’s too late, sir. There’s no turning back. I’m in.”

“Nodding slowly, he said to me, “Well then, good luck.”

“After which I went back to work.”
~ Julian Tepper

“Any form of physical or sexual assault is a very serious matter, potentially a legal matter. But I’m also wondering, what about having some kind of “extreme asshole” clause? I know lots of people who have been abused verbally and psychologically. That’s traumatizing, too. What do we do with that?  It takes a lot of energy to be an asshole. The people I admire most just aren’t interested in things that take away from their ability to make stuff. The people I really respect, and that I’ve met who fit this definition, have a sense of grace about them, because they know that there is no evolving and there is no wisdom without humility. You can’t get better if you behave in a way that shuts people off. You can’t! You don’t have all the ideas necessary to solve something. You don’t! I’m sure if you spoke to Harvey in his heyday and said to him what I just said to you, he would believe that he accomplished all that he had because of the way he behaved.”
~ Steven Soderbergh