What’s With the Maze in Denis Villeneuve’s ‘Prisoners’?

The Huge Image

  • The presence of mazes in
    symbolizes the interconnected crimes and characters and serves as a metaphor for the story’s construction.
  • The maze leads Detective Loki to uncover important truths, driving him towards the middle to rescue a lacking woman.
  • Keller Dover’s reckless habits represents an alternate strategy to navigating the maze, leading to vital losses and in the end failure ultimately.

Denis Villeneuve‘s 2013 crime drama, Prisoners, starred powerhouse actors like Jake Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman. Written by Aaron Guzikowski and shot by the legendary Roger Deakins, the movie tells the story of the kidnapping and subsequent seek for two little women, Anna and Pleasure, that go lacking on Thanksgiving Day. Jake Gyllenhaal performs the lead detective on the case, Loki, whereas Hugh Jackman performs one of many woman’s fathers, Keller Dover, who in the end turns into an abductor himself. Because the strain of the story mounts, there may be one picture that’s on the middle of the investigation: a maze. The maze is used within the movie as each a literal piece of proof and a figurative system of story construction and character perception. In spite of everything, you do not make a film referred to as Prisoners with out giving the characters one thing to be imprisoned in.


When Keller Dover’s daughter and her good friend go lacking, he takes issues into his personal fingers because the police pursue a number of leads and the strain mounts.

Launch Date
September 18, 2013

Denis Villeneuve


Most important Style

Aaron Guzikowski

Warner Bros. Photos

What Does the Maze Imply to Bob Taylor?

The primary time the viewers sees a bodily maze within the movie is through the arrest of Bob Taylor, performed by David Dastmalchian, a main suspect within the investigation after he fled Detective Loki at a candlelight vigil for the lacking women. There are mazes throughout Taylor’s partitions. Later, Taylor is requested to attract a map to the women’ our bodies, and he attracts a round maze just like those on his condominium partitions. This frustrates Loki as Taylor confessed to abducting the women, but the opposite proof in opposition to him is confirmed to be doctored to seem like it has to do with the present case. When Taylor takes his personal life, seemingly closing the one lead within the case, it understandably sends Loki into an emotional outburst. Bear in mind, it is a crime drama, so there must be at the very least one desk-clearing scene and Jake Gyllenhaal delivers. However that leaves the thriller of the maze broad open. That’s till Loki sees the identical maze in {a photograph} on the necklace of Mr. Jones, a corpse Loki discovered earlier within the basement of a intercourse offender priest. The priest tells Loki that Mr. Jones confessed that he had killed sixteen youngsters, an essential incontrovertible fact that comes into play later within the movie.

In simply a few minutes or so of dialogue, it is revealed by a forensic examiner {that a} e-book referred to as Discovering the Invisible Man was present in Bob Taylor’s possession and the mazes drawn by Taylor resemble the final maze within the e-book. The e-book is alleged to be a few idea {that a} string of kid abductions have been all carried out by the identical individual, who was by no means caught. This delicate connection exhibits the place Bob Taylor bought his obsession with mazes from however additionally factors the viewers within the route that the individual within the priest’s basement can also be someway related to this concept of a serial baby abductor whether or not it’s within the obsession of the e-book or that he’s the person the e-book is about. The forensic examiner factors to the concept it’s simply in regards to the obsession of the e-book itself, as there isn’t any actual bodily proof to corroborate the concept Bob Taylor was the true abductor of the lacking women.

Who Actually Kidnapped the Women?

That aforementioned necklace would go from weak connection to smoking gun, actually. In direction of the tip of the movie, Loki is inside Holly Jones’ (Melissa Leo) home to let her know that her nephew, Alex (Paul Dano), was discovered locked inside an condominium constructing owned by Keller Dover. Upon his arrival, he notices an image of Holly with Mr. Jones sporting the maze necklace, exhibiting the viewers that the corpse within the priest’s basement is Holly Jones’ late husband. It is not till this vital second, as minutes later, the Dovers’ lacking daughter is rescued, that Loki understands Holly is liable for the abductions. The viewers is aware of this earlier than Loki does as Holly confesses to Keller that Alex and Bob Taylor have been each previous victims of her and her husband. The viewers now sees the maze from the highest down with Holly Jones and the lacking women on the middle.

Loki Goes Deeper Into the Maze After Hitting a Wall

Jake Gyllenhaal as Loki entering a room in Prisoners
Picture by way of Warner Bros.

Prisoners is great storytelling as a result of it makes use of the maze as its central piece of proof, linking a number of crimes throughout many years, but additionally to the construction of the characters and the story itself. Prisoners pits the central moral dilemma by way of the lens of the 2 major characters, Loki and Keller. Every character approaches discovering the lacking women in a different way, and it turns into clear the way it exemplifies the methods of approaching a maze.

Detective Loki approaches the investigation (maze) by the e-book. When Loki hits a wall, he turns round and finds one other approach. For instance, when Alex Jones’ RV is discovered to don’t have any bodily proof linking him to the crime, it is not Loki who’s upset that he’s launched – it is Keller. Loki understands that even when there’s something that Alex Jones is hiding, he is not going to search out it from infinite interrogation and breaking the principles. He visits the proprietor of the house the place the RV was parked at the start of the movie – one other useless finish and but a small element a few earlier abduction twenty years prior is revealed. Lastly, Bob Taylor offers no direct solutions and no proof to assist the concept the women have been held or murdered by him. At every wail, Loki will get a small fraction of the reality revealed to him.


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At every turnaround within the maze, Loki will get increasingly emotionally unraveled. Dropping Bob Taylor is the equal to dropping what Loki thought was a map to the reality, a map to the middle of the maze. Loki performed by the principles of the maze and went deeper into it after he hit a wall. He explores all of the pathways to realize a whole understanding. That is what locations him in the appropriate spot on the proper time to rescue Anna ultimately. Loki would not know he’s as shut as he’s to the so-called middle of the maze till he is in it. These inside a maze cannot see over the partitions, they do not know they’ve solved it till they do, and it’s completely executed onscreen in these moments.

When Keller Dover Hits a Wall within the Maze, He Goes By way of It

Hugh Jackman as Keller Dover standing in the rain in Denis Villeneuve's Prisoners
Picture by way of Warner Bros.

Keller Dover, however, takes a really totally different strategy to discovering his daughter. If Loki performs the maze as it’s supposed to be, Keller does the alternative. Reasonably than flip round at a wall within the investigation, Keller decides to undergo it. By abducting Alex Jones after which subsequently torturing him, Keller is making an attempt to interrupt by way of the partitions of the maze and shortcut his solution to the middle and discover his daughter. What Keller fails to comprehend is that there’s a actual human value to doing this. Keller spends a lot power on Alex, he leaves his spouse to grieve alone, drives a wedge into his relationship together with his son, and breaks a year-long sober streak. To not point out the heavy ethical and authorized implications of abducting and torturing Alex, turning into the demon that Holly Jones declares is a part of the purpose of abducting the youngsters within the first place.

The maze for Keller is bodily represented by the condominium constructing he retains Alex in, which is depicted as slender and complicated, a bodily maze. Keller would not belief Loki to ship on his promise of discovering his daughter, but additionally would not have the information or the know-how to deal with the investigation the best way it must be. So he devolves into his extra base instincts and feelings. Break down the partitions one after the other, and ultimately, you’ll attain the middle. In contrast to Loki, nonetheless, Keller suffers actual loss.

What makes the maze work so effectively for Prisoners is that, ultimately, each Loki and Keller find yourself on the location of the final lacking woman. Though Keller might have gotten there first, his methodology for attending to the middle lacked these shreds of reality that Loki discovered alongside the best way. Keller wasn’t capable of estimate how harmful Holly Jones finally ends up being. Not solely that, but it surely’s revealed that Alex Jones by no means supposed to kidnap the women anyway, it was Holly’s thought to make them keep. Keller is then put right into a pit beneath Holly Jones’ property. When Loki rescues Anna, it is him rising above the maze to turn out to be the hero and savior. Keller desires to undergo the maze and finally ends up beneath it.

Prisoners is at present out there to stream on FilmBox within the U.S.


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