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Linda Cook’s “‘Prisoners’ Is a Gripping Whodunit” Falls Short of Greatness

In response to Linda Cook’s 434‑word review of Prisoners on Quad City Times (Davenport, IA)

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Linda Cook’s “‘Prisoners’ is a gripping whodunit” is a light, brisk review geared toward those who need short, to-the-point movie reviews. Indeed, one could imagine a married couple on date night hurriedly reading this review on their phones as the time they have to go home and relieve the babysitter inexorably approaches.

The busy layout of the webpage echoes Cook’s review—to the detriment of the latter. The marginalia competes with the reader’s attention, beckoning her down one of the infinite rabbit holes of aimless websurfing. Helpfully, there is a link to the movie trailer; but most of the links pull the reader’s eye to the right by tempting it with too many opportunities to click away.

Not particularly deep, the review is for those whose interest in movies is pure entertainment with an eye on what’s popular. The underlying question Cook tries to answer is simply “will this be entertaining?”

One can’t fault her for aiming somewhat low and hitting her mark; most moviegoers are looking for precious little more. Her answer in the affirmative is articulate and well-reasoned. And she avoids spoilers—to a fault: she neglects to mention the brewing controversy around the movie’s torture plotline.  

Unless you find convenience and brevity painful, this review won’t be torture.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation