- Alternate Character Interpretation: Is Keller a psychopath using his own paranoia to justify his torture of Alex or is he just a desperate man going too far to save his kid?
- Award Snub: There was a lot of hype for the film to be a big contender at the Oscars, especially in the acting category, but only wound up with a nomination for Roger Deakins' cinematography. Which it lost. Hell, Hugh Jackman didn't get a nomination anywhere for his performance.
- Creepy Awesome: A musical version thanks to Soundtrack Dissonance in the opening scene. The movie takes the uplifting gospel song "Put Your Hand in the Hand" and makes it incredibly creepy.
- Crowning Music of Awesome: The film's minimalist score by Jóhann Jóhannsson quite haunting, especially The Candlelight Vigil.
- Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: This movie is overwhelmingly depressing. Our supposed hero is a brutal Deconstruction of vigilante fathers who spends the entire movie torturing a man who's eventually revealed to be innocent and plagued by immense psychological damage undoubtedly worsened by the things Keller puts him through. And even though the movie ends on a surprisingly bittersweet note, there's still so much that's keeping it from being a truly happy ending, such as the trauma plaguing Keller's family as well as the inevitable jail time he will face if he ever makes it out of that hole. However, this is slightly downplayed by the realism behind Keller's motivations, Loki's genuine dedication to helping the Dover family, and Alex being reunited with his family in the end.
- Jerkass Woobie: Keller does some pretty horrible things to Alex and even starts taking up drinking, but the man is just desperate to find his kid.
- Moral Event Horizon: Holly crossed it a long time ago when it is revealed that she and her husband were behind the kidnappings and murders of the kids.
- One could argue that what Keller does to Alex qualifies, even if he did it to find he girls. Franklin certainly seems to think so in-universe.
- Narm: Some people find Holly Jones motivation for kidnapping and killing children to be kind of...lame. Granted, losing a child can definitely make someone go insanefor crying out loud, thats literally whats happening to Doverbut her calling it a war on God sounds a little melodramatic for such a dark movie.
- Rewatch Bonus: "They didn't cry until I left them". On a second watch it becomes clear that Alex was trying to tell Keller where the girls were, he just couldn't put it into words because of his disability.
- Also, the maze pendent pretty much tells you who the culprit is but you won't realize it on a first time viewing. Unless you pay absolute attention.
- Spiritual Licensee:
- The Woobie: Alex, especially when it's revealed that he was actually innocent (or at least not fully aware) of the kidnapping, and yet gets brutally tortured for it. Then at the end it's revealed that he was actually kidnapped when he was really young.
YMMV / Prisoners