Why Did Alex Choke the Dog in Prisoners: Unraveling the Dark Motives in the Gripping Film

Why Did Alex Choke the Dog in Prisoners: Unraveling the Dark Motives in the Gripping Film

Unraveling the Dark Motives: Why Did Alex Choke the Dog in Prisoners?

Prisoners, directed by Denis Villeneuve, is a gripping film that explores the depths of the human psyche and the lengths people will go to in order to protect their loved ones. Among the many shocking moments in the film, one particular scene stands out – the moment when Alex, played by Paul Dano, chokes a dog.

Understanding Alex’s Character

To understand why Alex would commit such a gruesome act, we must first delve into the complex psyche of his character. From the beginning of the film, Alex is portrayed as a troubled and socially awkward individual. His appearance, demeanor, and mysterious behavior raise suspicion among the other characters and the audience.

A Desperate Manipulation

One possible motive for Alex’s heinous act is his desperate attempt to manipulate and deceive the other characters in the film. Throughout the story, Alex is the primary suspect in the kidnapping of two young girls, Keller Dover’s daughter and her friend. By choking the dog, he aims to divert attention away from himself and onto the dog’s owner, Bob Taylor, played by David Dastmalchian.

The Power of Control

Another motive that could be attributed to Alex’s actions is the desire for control. In the harsh and chaotic environment of the film’s narrative, Alex’s act of violence gives him a sense of power and control over his surroundings. Choking the dog serves as a display of dominance and an assertion of his presence in a world where he is often overlooked and dismissed.

A Glimpse into Alex’s Dark Past

As the film progresses, it becomes evident that Alex has a dark past and a history of violence. The way he interacts with the dog hints at a possible connection between his past actions and his present behavior. Choking the dog could be viewed as a reflection of past acts of violence, revealing the depth of Alex’s disturbed nature.

A Test of Morality

The dog choking scene also serves as a test of morality for the audience. It challenges us to question our own values and beliefs. How do we react to such an act of cruelty? Do we sympathize with Alex or condemn him for his actions? The scene forces us to confront the complexities of human nature and the capacity for both good and evil within each of us.

A Symbolic Gesture

Lastly, it is important to consider the symbolic implications of Alex choking the dog. In literature and film, animals are often used as symbols to represent aspects of human behavior. The act of choking the dog can be seen as a metaphor for the choking of truth and justice, emphasizing the film’s overall themes of desperation and the blurred line between right and wrong.

In conclusion, the motives behind Alex’s actions in choking the dog in Prisoners are multi-layered and complex. From desperate manipulation to a desire for control, a glimpse into his dark past, and a test of morality, the scene serves as a pivotal moment in the film. Through this shocking act, the audience is confronted with the darker aspects of human nature and forced to question their own beliefs and values.


1. Why did Alex choke the dog in “Prisoners”?

Alex choked the dog as a means of asserting dominance and control over the helpless creature. He was displaying his sadistic tendencies and the power he believed he had in that situation.

2. Was Alex’s action towards the dog gratuitous or does it hold deeper meaning?

While Alex’s action may seem gratuitous at first glance, it actually holds deeper meaning in the context of the film. It serves as a metaphor for the dark and twisted nature of his character, highlighting the depths of his cruelty.

3. Does choking the dog have any symbolic representation in the story?

The act of choking the dog symbolizes Alex’s lack of empathy and his inclination towards violence. It reflects his distorted mindset and foreshadows the brutal acts he commits throughout the film.

4. Did the filmmakers include the scene to shock the audience?

While the scene is undoubtedly shocking, it serves a purpose beyond mere shock value. Its inclusion helps establish the atmosphere of darkness and brutality in the story, enhancing the intensity of the film.

5. How does the scene impact the audience’s perception of Alex?

The scene helps establish Alex as a truly menacing and disturbed character. It amplifies the audience’s fear and disgust, making it clear that he is capable of unimaginable cruelty and violence.

6. Did the dog’s choking scene have any impact on the plot?

Although the dog’s choking scene doesn’t have a direct impact on the main plot, it serves as a crucial moment in character development. It deepens the audience’s understanding of Alex’s malevolence and sets the stage for the events that follow.

7. Was there any justification for Alex’s cruel actions towards the dog?

There is no justification for Alex’s cruel actions towards the dog. It is a reflection of his disturbed psyche and sadistic tendencies. His actions cannot be excused or justified under any circumstances.

8. What were the reactions of the other characters to Alex choking the dog?

In the film, the other characters react with a mix of shock, horror, and alarm when they witness Alex choking the dog. Their reactions further emphasize the twisted nature of his actions and confirm the audience’s repulsion towards his character.

9. Was the dog harmed during the filming of the scene?

No, the dog was not harmed during the filming of the scene. Special precautions were taken to ensure the dog’s safety and well-being throughout the production. The choking effect was created using special effects and careful coordination.

10. Can the scene with the dog be considered a turning point in the narrative?

While the scene with the dog doesn’t constitute a narrative turning point, it does mark a significant moment in the progression of the story. It represents a key instance where the audience’s perception of Alex and the overall tone of the film is cemented.