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Film Analysis

Prisoners (2013) - Shreya Sachdev

The majority of the analysis in this film comes from symbolic elements that the audience has to decode in order to understand what the director, Denis Villeneuve, is trying to convey as well as understand the title of this movie. Detective Loki, for example, is a symbol of society trying to discover the truth. Meanwhile, Keller Dover is the symbol of rebellion against society and law, because he is trying to take matter into his own hands. Holly Jones, or the kidnapper, is the war against god because she does not believe in god anymore as god has let her down. Alex Jones and Bob Taylor are the prisoners as they are trapped in the maze of their own heads, unable to move on with their life. Holly and her husband used to be Christians and were very believing of god. However, they lost their son to cancer and were mad at god for doing this to them. They started kidnapping and killing children in order to get revenge, but Holly’s husband ended up being murdered after confessing to the crimes they had committed to a priest. Holly continued to kidnap the children, but only because she was lonely. One of her victims was Bob Taylor who managed to escape and the other one being Alex Jones. Anna and Joyce were taken by Holly when she found them playing inside of the RV with Alex. It is later revealed that Alex never laid a hand on Anna and Joyce, and that it was Holly who had kidnapped them. Holly was constantly drugging Alex which explains his strange behavior and his IQ of a 10 year old. While being tortured by Keller, Alex would not speak because he was in a state of mind that Holly created over the years, which makes him the real prisoner of the movie as he is trapped in the maze of his own mind. As mentioned previously, Bob was abducted by Holly as well but managed to escape. However, he was never able to truly be free due to the trauma he had endured under Holly. Ben was still trapped in the maze after all the years he suffered, which explains why he went to the candle service and broke into Keller’s home, as he somehow saw a bit of himself in this criminal investigation. A book is found that says “Solve all the mazes and you can go home.” This is a book that is given to the abducted children to mess with their minds and make them go insane as the mazes in the book are unsolvable. This is another explanation for why Bob is so obsessed with mazes and puzzles. When the girls are found, Keller becomes a prisoner because he crosses the line between good and email and dehumanizes himself by becoming a kidnapper. He becomes a prisoner due to the fact that he cannot let go of the fact that he tortured Alex Jones and was so violent towards him. Keller is a prisoner in his own mind, but also behind bars as he does have to go to jail for torturing an innocent man.

Shreya Sachdev