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Prisoners [2013] [R] - 1.7.9



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Unlike the MPAA we do not assign one inscrutable rating based on age, but 3 objective ratings for SEX/NUDITY, VIOLENCE/GORE and PROFANITY on a scale of 0 to 10, from lowest to highest, depending on quantity and context.

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Sex & Nudity
Violence & Gore
1 to 10


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After a family's young daughter (Erin Gerasimovich) and her best friend (Kyla Drew Simmons) are abducted, the father (Hugh Jackman) takes matters into his own hands: Fed up with the failures of the police detective (Jake Gyllenhaal) that's trying to find the girls, he targets a mentally challenged man (Paul Dano) as the kidnapper and tortures him. Also with Maria Bello, Melissa Leo, Dylan Minnette, Viola Davis and Terrence Howard. Directed by Denis Villeneuve. [2:26]

SEX/NUDITY 1 - Two nude female child mannequins from a retail store are found in a shallow grave (the plastic bodies show no nipples or genitals).
 Policemen search an office and ask the owner sarcastically if he has German pornography, throwing magazines onto the floor (we cannot see the covers or contents); the man says, "I'm staying straight" in reference to some unknown crime.
 Two 6-year-old girls disappear and their families fear what might happen (e.g. rape and murder).

VIOLENCE/GORE 7 - A man brings another man to an abandoned apartment building where a man is duct taped, gagged and tied to a radiator in a bathroom; the first man tortures the gagged man repeatedly (we hear violent screams coming from off screen several times): He punches gagged man in the mouth and nose several times, causing flowing blood and large blood clots around his eyes, nose, mouth and temples and the camera cuts to the hallway; we hear screaming and the pounding of more punches, while back in the bathroom, the torturer stands the victim in a corner with the help of a friend and holds a claw hammer to the victim's face, and then tells him that he will pound his hand but instead breaks the sink next to them into pieces with three blows; he then slams the hammer head onto a wall, where it sticks out next to the victim's ear and the victim slides into a heap on the floor.
 A man looks through a picture window and sees an elderly man lying on his living room floor and inside the room the detective finds two empty whiskey bottles and a partially filled glass; he searches the house, finds a door behind a refrigerator, opens it, finds no stairs and jumps eight feet down into a dirty cellar where he finds a rotting male corpse tied into on office chair tipped over on its side (the corpse is blue-skinned and covered in dirt and cobwebs); a priest tells the man that the corpse is a man that admitted to killing 16 children some years ago and he repeats the story at police HQ.
 A man drives erratically to an older woman's house where she pretends to have burned her hand but pulls a gun on him, forcing him to handcuff himself, go to a car in the driveway, back it up and pull up a plywood cover and get into a big hole; he refuses to get in until the woman shoots him in the leg and we see some blood as he slides down into the hole; the woman tells him to make a tourniquet and he might survive 24 hours as she covers the hole.
 A detective shouts and grabs a man that he is interrogating until two police officers pull him away; the suspect grabs a pistol and all three of the officers draw guns and tell him to put the gun down; he puts the pistol into his mouth, pulls the trigger and blood and brain matter splatter the two-way mirror behind him as he falls down, dead; the camera cuts to a body bag on a gurney being wheeled out. A man arrives at a woman's house and finds her in a bedroom giving an injection to a little girl (please see the Substance Use category for more details); both adults fire handguns at each other and the woman drops (without bleeding) behind a door, presumed dead and he shouts as a bullet hits his forehead and throws him into a wall.
 A father demands answers and threatens to kill a man that he is holding as a suspect in a kidnapping and he receives no information (the victim whines several times); the father builds a cabinet and puts it over the bathtub with the victim locked inside and through a small vent pipe, we see the blackened face of the hostage quiver with wide eyes; the father turns on scalding hot water several times and we see steam as the hostage screams violently (one time, the father kneels and prays before doing this); we hear that the victim has had no water to drink for five days; we see the victim's terrified eyes through the vent pipe several times and hear him say timidly, "Help me."
 A woman visits an abandoned building and finds a man beaten and tied with chains to the plumbing under the sink in a bathroom; the man's head is larger than normal, the eyes are swollen shut, black clots are over his cheeks and chin and red blood is over his face, hands and T-shirt; as the woman unchains him, he kicks her across the room, and breaks the window out with one hand until another man grabs him before he can crawl out (we see the victim's hand clutched around a large bloody shard of glass with blood all over it and the hand); the other man ties him back under the sink and puts a gag over his mouth.
 A man with a little girl in his car drives erratically through snowy weather to an ER; he nearly hits several cars, blood flowing down the side of his head and face and into his eyes while other drivers honk; he falls as he gets out of his car, recovers and runs inside with the little girl (we later see her unharmed in the hospital, but she is silent and the man wears bloody gauze on his forehead and his eyes are red).
 Flashbacks show two little girls with duct-taped mouths lying unconscious on a bedroom floor in a stranger's home and we see that one girl's hair is bloody; the other girl awakens, runs out an open door into the street and toward home (we see her in a hospital bed, without visible wounds and with an IV in her arm (please see the Substance Use category for more details).
 A man buried in a large hole finds his daughter's whistle, her shoes and some other children's clothing as he grunts and shouts in pain. Parents identify pictures of their children's bloody clothing, cry and believe their children are dead; the police then discover that the blood is pig's blood.
 A man picks a dog up by its leash and hangs it in the air for several seconds, while the dog whines; he then he puts the dog back down on the sidewalk and another man takes a handgun from his glove compartment, follows the first man, points the gun at him and the scene ends.
 On a gloomy, rainy evening the 6-year-old daughters of two families dining together are left unwatched and go outside unsupervised; the girls disappear after playing around an RV where a mentally challenged man lives and one of the fathers says the girls will get a whipping when they return; the other dad reacts with intense rage, often screaming and shouting in anger at family, friends and the police while pounding things; the two moms are incapacitated by their grief, crying and moaning and one of the moms cries uncontrollably in three scenes and shouts incoherently at her husband in one of these scenes.
 On a rainy night, an RV sits at the edge of woods by a gas station while two dozen police cruisers with flashing lights gather around and officers with guns drawn approach it until it backs up quickly, and then stops; a detective enters the back of the RV where smoke is rising and finds a man behind a curtain next to a large wooden tree branch; officers pull the man outside and handcuff him (his face, mouth and one hand are bloody) while we hear that his mental capacity is that of a 10-year-old. A detective finds the house of a man who ran away from him and asks the man why he purchases children's clothing; as the man tries to slam the door, the detective forces himself through the doorway, and slams the man's face into a wall and onto the floor to handcuff him (we see the arrested man with a bloody nose and mouth).
 A detective finds several long packing bins, he breaks the locks on them, and finds non-venomous snakes in each along with bloody children's clothing; snakes crawl out of the containers, down hallways and over the detective's shoes (doing no harm). A detective finds a hog's head in a kitchen sink, surrounded by many flies. Police CSIs find two child mannequins in a shallow grave (please see the Sex/Nudity category for more details).
 A detective sees a strange man touching a teddy bear on the ground at a vigil and chases him with his gun drawn; after a long chase, the strange man jumps onto the detective from a roof, and then runs onto a road with heavy traffic cutting off the detective. A father grabs a released kidnapping suspect in a parking lot and pushes the man to the ground until police officers pull him away and the father says that the other man said, "They didn't cry until I left them" (the man did not say that).
 CSIs dig wide, deep holes in a driveway and report to a detective that they have been finding some dead snakes, but the ground is freezing under a light snowfall; as the CSIs leave, the detective hears a muffled scream in the driveway twice, he turns in the direction of the sound, and then the scene ends.
 A father and his teen son go deer hunting with rifles and pray before taking a shot; the son fires his rifle, strikes the deer in the rear flank and the animal drops (we see no blood); the father is a survivalist who keeps many rifles and handguns in the house as well as a basement full of emergency rations.
 A man wearing a black hoodie wanders around the homes of two families while they are out. A detective hears screaming from the second floor of an abandoned building and breaks the plywood cover from a window and he looks around with his gun drawn, and then leaves; in another scene, the detective returns to the building and finds a plywood cabinet around a bathtub that has been a prison for a mentally challenged man (the scene ends). A detective swipes everything on his desk onto the floor and slams his keyboard onto the edge of his desk to break it.
 At a jail, a suspect connected with bloody children's clothing giggles and while handcuffed draws (with bloody hands) pictures of a maze that he says it is a map to the graves of dead children. A missing boy's mother watches a video of the little boy every day after decades of his being missing.
 A teen girl shouts at her parents for leaving her home alone at night after her little sister was kidnapped; she locks herself in the bathroom. A man argues with his teen son twice. A woman states that her husband was bitten by a snake, so his young nephew developed a snake phobia. A woman states that her son died of cancer. A man collapses at a candlelight vigil for his missing daughter, and remains kneeling on one knee. We hear that a man and a woman were killed in a car accident. A newspaper article states that a man's father was a prison guard that had committed suicide. We see an old newspaper headline that reads that a small boy was kidnapped.

PROFANITY 9 - About 43 F-words and its derivatives, 9 scatological references, 4 anatomical references, 3 mild obscenities, exclamations (shut-up), name-calling (crazy, dope), stereotypical references to whites, parents, blue-collar families, law enforcement officers, copy-cat criminals, child predators, vigilantes, priests, Christians, 1 religious profanity (GD), 4 religious exclamations (e.g. For God's Sake, God, Oh God). [profanity glossary]

SUBSTANCE USE - A six-year-old girl unconscious on a floor is given a large injection from an amber vial and we hear that the injection can kill her, two prescription bottles are shown on a woman's nightstand in three scenes (we do not know what they are), a husband gives his wife one pill from a prescription vial and she takes it and falls asleep, a six-year-old girl with an IV in her arm is seen in a hospital (the substance is unknown), a man is a recovering alcoholic and is obsessed with the survivalist lifestyle as if it were a drug, a police detective asks a man if he is high and the man replies that he is not, and a police officer asks what a man is "on" (implying recreational drugs). Men and women hold glasses of wine at a dinner (no one drinks), a bottle of wine is seen on a kitchen counter and a woman pours a glass of it (no one drinks), a bottle of wine is shown on a coffee table, we understand that a man (a recovering alcoholic) started drinking again after years of sobriety when his young daughter disappears, a police supervisor offers a glass of whiskey to a detective after pouring two glasses and the detective declines whereupon the supervisor pours both drinks into one glass and drinks, several scenes show a man drinking from a whiskey bottle in an abandoned building and outdoors, a man walks into a package store and comes back out carrying a bottle of whiskey in a paper sack and drinks from it while arguing with a detective, a man walks down a road and throws away an empty whiskey bottle, a man is shown lying on his side beside a half-full bottle of whiskey and pretends to be passed out, we hear that someone received a glass of "knockout cocktail" (a drugged drink), and bottles of drugged cola are shown in a bedroom on a table and on a kitchen counter and when a man is forced to drink some he doubles up in pain (he has no other ill effects).

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Family and child safety, torture, parenting, responsibility, duty, vigilantism, revenge, the justice system, alcoholism, suicide, the survivalist lifestyle.

MESSAGE - The past can keep one a prisoner.

Special Keywords: S1 - V7 - P9 - MPAAR

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