In Prisoners, when Keller roughs up Alex Jones in the police station car park, he immediately tells him something about the girls not crying until he (Alex) left them. He then denies saying this. Why? He also does not immediately help Keller once he himself is kidnapped irrespective of whether he is asked nicely, threatened, or tortured.

Later on, once the audience is introduced to the "maze", he tells Keller about it too.

Is there a plausible reason for the randomness of the breadcrumbs that he throws to Keller? Bob Taylor might not remember much about his captivity and be reluctant to discuss his obsession with snakes, mazes, and children's clothing. But, how about Alex?


2 Answers 2


The main aspect of Alex's character here is, that he had "the IQ of a ten year old" and he was bound to his "aunt" Holly. He was incredibly loyal and dependent on her due to the years of brain-washing (for the lack of a better term). I'm not saying he feared Holly or was actively threatened by her, but he was entirely dependent on her and unable to say anything against her. That statement at the parking lot probably just slipped through due to the surprise of Keller's attack (and he wasn't really revealing anything there apart from his mere participation, if he was even aware of this at all) and he immediately denied it afterwards, especially since Holly sat right next to him.

Later on, once the audience is introduced to the "maze", he tells Keller about it too.

Ok, that's indeed just "movie coincidence" I'd say (meaning that he could also have told it to him a bit earlier or later, but it served the story-telling better to tell it at this point).

It is true that it might be a bit of a stretch that he endured the heaviest of tortures without even saying anything, but it isn't completely unreasonable, given that he was mentally unable to say anything against Holly (or maybe didn't even understand what Keller wanted from him). So I agree that this aspect of his character might have been exaggerated a bit for the sake of suspense and for Keller and the audience to not know everything right away and for us audience to not even be sure if Alex has anything to do with it at all (we didn't hear what he said to Keller at the parking lot). But it wasn't without any consistent explanation, I think.

  • I think that this correctly answers based on the story (meaning it is probably how authors would have explained it), but it is still strange that Alex isn't able to tell anything because of his intelligence (10 years is not so little). But maybe it has to do something with the brainwashing and trauma.
    – TGar
    Feb 16, 2017 at 15:12

Alex behaved like a 10 year old boy. He was scared of getting into trouble. When Keller attacks him at the station and he says that they didn’t start crying until he left, he was trying to say that he didn’t hurt them. That he was their friend. But he is too scared to say everything. Kids clam up when they are afraid of getting into trouble.

Also, Detective Loki tells him that if he tells the truth, his Aunt won’t go to prison. Just my theory, but maybe he didn’t tell them because he WANTED her to go to prison. Loki’s manipulation backfires because he doesn’t know that she’s the one doing the kidnapping. But Alex does and he knows it’s wrong and wants her to be punished.

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