IMDb > "The Prisoner" (2009) > Reviews & Ratings - IMDb
"The Prisoner"
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany creditsepisode listepisodes castepisode ratings... by rating... by votes
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratings
Plot & Quotes
plot summaryplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips

Reviews & Ratings for
"The Prisoner" More at IMDbPro »

Write review
Filter: Hide Spoilers:
Page 1 of 12:[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [Next]
Index 118 reviews in total 

99 out of 147 people found the following review useful:


Author: pro_crustes from Atlantic Coast, USA
16 November 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If you remember the original, you will find this one a remake in name only. None of the sly cat-and-mouse interplay the eponymous character engaged in can be seen this time. The new Six is much more of a castaway than a prisoner, not knowing how he got where he is, nor having any sense for sure that escape is possible. In a bizarre and inconsistent variation from the source material, Villagers appear to have had their memories erased, but not completely. The new Six is such a victim, yet also deliberately tries to get some of his suspected captors to admit to knowledge of things he himself is supposed to have lost.

The notion that the Villagers mostly don't know they are prisoners robs the entire story of its most poignant element: that everyone's cheerful demeanor is an act of submission to their captors. That was the original's metaphor to describe how many people felt about their relationship to government at that time, so viewers related easily and shared that Six's wish not only to escape, but to best his captors locally when he could not escape. This time, we only have mystery and enigma, with nothing resembling our own experiences or woes.

This is what you would get if you wanted a remake as tied to its source material as the 2009 "Star Trek" was to its progenitor, but your investors said your target audience were the people who liked the first season of "Lost."

Was the above review useful to you?

54 out of 68 people found the following review useful:

Surreal Subjugation

Author: Sandsquish from Denver, Colorado
23 November 2009

1967's Cold War and its counter culture are gone; they've been replaced by 2009's global village and its consumer culture. So 2009's Prisoner is no longer an angry young man fighting for his identity against secret government policies and flagrant brainwashing, he's an angst-ridden 30-something trying to hang on to his identity in the face of overwhelming marketing and soothing pharmaceuticals.

2009's The Prisoner takes all the familiar elements of 1967's cult classic and re-interprets them in a relevant way, just like good remakes are supposed to. The psychedelic, lava-lamp surrealism of the sixties may be gone, but, don't worry, they've been replaced by the post-modern, dream-like surrealism of the oughts.

Yes, the Village still needs to assimilate No. 6, but it no longer cares why he would wish to resign from its society, it only wants him to understand that he can't. Instead of foiling No. 6's repeated escape attempts from the superficially charming, but inherently oppressive, Village, this new Village, still just as pleasant-looking, and oppressive, just makes it clear that there is no place else to escape to. The consumer culture and its global village are everywhere now. There is no escape.

So, instead of a government desperately trying Pavlovian conditioning, hypnotic suggestion, and hallucinogens in the water, a corporation tries matching people with their perfect mates, giving them mind-numbing jobs to take their minds off their melancholy, distracting them with melodramatic soap operas, and, maybe, making them feel a little better with some gene-therapy.

Sure, everyone's still under surveillance in this Village, but this time, its not the Village government trying to identify revolutionaries so it can silence them, its the Summakor corporation trying to identify dreamers so it can subject them to a concentrated dose of consumer culture. And if that doesn't work, maybe a few pharmaceuticals and a promotion will co-opt the more troublesome ones.

Was the above review useful to you?

58 out of 76 people found the following review useful:

One Possible Interpretation of The Prisoner remake

Author: jeconway3 from United States
18 November 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Mr. Curtis (aka #2) CEO of Summakor, developed a technology to tap into people's subconscious minds. Somehow, Curtis' wife, M2, placed into an artificially-induced dream state, controls the world of the subconscious (called The Village). As M2 awakens from time to time, reality creeps into the subconscious environment as a number of bottomless holes that randomly appear in grounds of The Village campus.

Everything in the Village exists in the subconscious minds of M2, Curtis/2 and people/Village residents. The "residents" have been carefully selected by Curtis/2 as subjects in need of mental therapy. Curtis/2 has injected himself into the subconscious Village world to directly try to heal the selected people. If Curtis/2 can control the subconscious of people (i.e. make them happy and peaceful in their subconscious world), he reasons, the people will mimic those feelings and actions in the real world.

Michael (aka #6), a Summakor employee, has worked on the Summakor technology at some level (subject identification?). Suspecting that the technology is being used unwisely, Michael/6 decides to resign from Summakor. Curtis/2, unhappy with this, somehow taps Michael's subconscious and brings him into The Village environment. In doing so Curtis/2 hopes to bring Michael/6 back to Summakor.

(The film uses a plot stunt that initially looks like flashbacks... in reality they are "toggles" between events on-going in the real world and simultaneous events being played out in the subconscious minds of the residents. This is why the plot seems so disjointed. We observe versions of both reality and the subconscious through the eyes of the individuals on-screen at any given moment.) Curtis/2 makes numerous attempts at inducing Michael/6 to rejoin Summakor/The Village by utilizing a broad range of subconscious "Village" tricks. None work. At his wit's end Curtis/2 suddenly has an epiphany (triggered by his subconscious, imaginary son's behaviors) and determines that he and his wife are actually prisoners of Summakor's technology and that Michael/2 may hold the key to their escape.

With this thought, Curtis/2 decides to hand over control of both Summakor and The Village technology to Michael/6.

Through a revelation that Michale/6's Village girlfriend (313) is severely mentally ill in the real world and that The Village is her only hope, Curtis/2 convinces Michael/6 to re-join Summakor as head of The Village project. Michael/6 steps up to the challenge in both the real and Village worlds.

Curtis (and his wife), the real prisoners in this tale, are finally freed from the nightmare that both Summakor and The Village have become.


Was the above review useful to you?

103 out of 171 people found the following review useful:

Steaming pile of equine excrement

Author: daniel-tracy from United States
17 November 2009

As a fan of the original Prisoner I can't begin to say how incredibly disappointed I am with this "remake". The "plot" is non-existent and makes no sense. It might be good if it had characters that made kept your interest in spite of the unintelligible plot line but sadly there isn't a single character that makes me care about what happens to them. In the original Patrick McGoohan was an excellent actor and portrayed an engaging character. The character of 6 in the original embodied the admirable quality of not giving up in spite of the odds. He was direct, smart and capable. In contrast, this 6 is a confused mamby-pamby guy with the personality of a doorstop. I am especially disappointed that one of my favorite actors, Ian McKellen would agree to appear in this mess. I think Patrick McGoohan is turning over in his grave.

Was the above review useful to you?

100 out of 168 people found the following review useful:

A cry for help from a TV writer who wants to move into the Village

Author: Chung Mo from NYC
17 November 2009

Demonstrating a complete misunderstanding (or hatred) of the original series, writer Bill Gallagher ends up endorsing the concept of the Village in this mishmash of The Truman Show and the Matrix. Throw in the stock evil corporation, a couple of useless explosions and a basket full of illogical inconsistencies and you get another A&E remake debacle.

Regardless of the esteem anyone holds of the original series, in the end, what was this six hour production really about? Like the holes that appear in the ground, nothing at all. It seems that someone in this production realized this at some point and decided to obfuscate it by making a confusing jumble. The whole thing could have been told in two hours by a decent director. And they could have called it something else, like THE RESORT.

People of Britain, respect your heritage, don't watch this garbage when it airs there.

Was the above review useful to you?

45 out of 61 people found the following review useful:

Wow. Can't believe the negative feedback on this one

Author: podmartin from Canada
22 November 2009

Yikes. I don't know what standards The Prisoner is being compared to by other reviewers (other than obviously the original series, which is completely different). While not absolutely stellar, it certainly is superior to almost everything out there on network TV. While it's sometimes difficult to figure out where the four first hours are going, the last two hours are really delivered with the tone of cerebral and philosophical thriller that chillingly ties the mini-series together. I thought the Prisoner's social commentary on the balance between impersonal technology and personal consciousness which is hammered home in the ending sequences was especially effective. The acting level was also certainly above network TV level -- McKellen giving a creepy performance that ultimately becomes understandable as No. 2, and Cazieval, who likes many of his other roles, brings a humanity to character who doesn't quite understand what is going on to him. There are certainly flaws in the production and scripting, but if you come with an open mind and not prepared to judge the series in the context of the original series, I think it's a worthwhile investment of the viewer's time.

Was the above review useful to you?

67 out of 107 people found the following review useful:

"My head is confused with confusion!" Hey, 16 said it, not me!

Author: scarletminded from San Diego, CA
16 November 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Actual quote from this new version of the old cult classic, The Prisoner. I have to agree with 16, which says this horribly written line. It is hard to pinpoint the main reason this is all wrong. I could be obvious and say, well, it is a remake. Sure, but it doesn't seem to stop the film empire from spitting out more badly made remakes. So let me give other reasons.

First, it has none of the charisma or style of the original, all the while espousing that it is "deeper" than the original Prisoner. Upon watching the first two hours, it isn't that much deeper. Long shoots of the desert, lame dialog, lack of mystery and stealing from movies like Dark City isn't deeper by a long shot. Second, it has none of the spy fun of the original. It is just a bunch of tired old clichés and stolen ideas. Obviously, the Number Two will stay the same within the whole series, destroying the idea that Number Two can be taken out at will by the Village. And though I like Ian McKellen, he can't save this project by himself and his comments about the old series being camp and not great, just are laughable in the face of this dog of a show.

The writing is bad (see my headline), the acting is also bad, the plot line isn't like the original Prisoner at all. They might as well wrote a completely new show and made it like Lost instead of this. I don't get why people take an idea and then pick away at it so only 93 in an original black and white Prisoner blazer and Rover remain.

It's original ideas, like incorporating families into the Village, aren't really good. I always thought it was nice not to have kids in the Village as to play up that only spies were there. And Six isn't a spy here, he is an analysis, which I guess is as close to being a spy the new version wanted to touch and it is a shame because it could have had some high tech gadgets in there. Even Number Six's cool car has been replaced by a bus! Super lame! The fun of The Prisoner was spy camp, the Village people acting strangely cheery and things like Number Two's underground viewing chamber, which is missing here, replaced by Number Two looking into a clear glass while his son looks blankly into the camera for the zillionth time downstairs. The clear towers are vaguely like the Twin Tower and yes, there is also a terrorist subplot that reminded me of Brazil.

Anyway, it isn't anything I haven't seen before that was done better. I doubt I'll watch the rest of this. I gave it a shot because I didn't want to denounce it only because I love the original Prisoner. I tried to watch it like it wasn't a remake to be neutral, but it didn't work.

I won't be seeing you, bad Prisoner remake. I won't be seeing you.

Was the above review useful to you?

71 out of 119 people found the following review useful:

Vaguely Interesting but mostly off-the-mark reboot.

Author: Mark Krasselt ( from United States
17 November 2009

Too much dialog written in the most obvious fashion. Too little mystery. Too little tension. The essential drama and motivation of the story missing as much as No. 6's mind.

The issues with this series have less to do with its similarity or non-similarity to its source material than it has with the tenor of contemporary film-making and writing. Classicism and all its artistic forms have all but disappeared from education, so it is not surprising that what passes off as entertainment today is hardly groundbreaking or even interesting. There are exceptions to the rule, of course, but by and large episodic television is at a low point.

It isn't even so much that Prisoner 2.0 differs from the original (in itself not necessarily a bad thing if handled properly) but the fact there is little personality to the proceedings is its major weakness.

Film-making, collaborative or auteur, rely on the singular voice of its many artists ringing out in concert, guided by the deliberate hand of a producer or director who sees the forest for the trees. Film-making is about style as much as about content and the two have to cohere meaningfully. When it doesn't, as in this new reboot, the results are muddled.

The presence of Ian McKellen isn't enough to elevate it and Caviezel simply miscast.

Too bad.

Was the above review useful to you?

71 out of 119 people found the following review useful:

Another Awful Remake

Author: deerwalkby from United States
15 November 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This remake of the old series just doesn't work: Where the old Prisoner series was surreal, the new one is existential. It is much more mean spirited and weirdly psychological, and very overbearingly totalitarian. Where in the old series the characters were mostly trying to maintain pleasantry and good manners, the new mini series has a much larger element of demagoguery and fear.

The look of the village, with the exception of Number Two's palace, is very hum drum, whereas the old series village really played up the dichotomy of looking like a quaint and charming little place, yet all you want to do is get away from it.

The story line is much weaker too: instead of a disillusioned former spy hero, we get the usual clueless computer geek being used by the evil corporation.

Also, greatly unappreciated were the crude remarks in the conversation between Number Two and the psychiatrists.

This new Prisoner is much more 1984, than an exploration of what you do with old spies.

Was the above review useful to you?

45 out of 69 people found the following review useful:

This is why we hate remakes

Author: toycarguy from Palm Harbor, FL
17 November 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In general, I was enjoying this; yet, every now and again my brain warned me, "this better have a resolution that works." It doesn't. I began to have more serious concerns tonight as we learned what the Village is (and isn't). They spent all that time building up the intrigue and suspense, all to have it vaporized by (summarizing / paraphrasing here) "well, that's certainly thoughtful, let's continue the work then, shall we?" The final scene with 313 didn't really make sense -- is she the replacement for Mrs. 2? And how did Mrs. 2 bring people "into" the Village anyway? Through the Matrix, perhaps? Had the ending actually worked, I could have given the series an overall 7 or 8, or perhaps even higher. I was thoroughly pleased with McKellan's performance, and Caviezel was at least satisfactory (IMHO, writing, rather than acting, was the weakness of his version of 6). They should have started wrapping things a littler earlier, to allow time to actually flesh out the reveal and explain things more clearly. Instead, the build-up to 6's resolution simply came off as rushed. Ah, well; at least they -finally- threw in a Penny-Farthing for us to "A-ha!" at before turning off the lights.

Was the above review useful to you?

Page 1 of 12:[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [Next]

Add another review

Related Links

Plot summary Ratings Awards
External reviews Official site Plot keywords
Main details Your user reviews Your vote history