Prisoners was a tense, dramatic movie. I remember being almost exhausted after watching the film for the first time. But as I mulled it over in the following days, I was struck by how subtly powerful the cinematography was. Never did it call attention to itself, but almost every frame was polished and cleanly executed. Roger Deakins is a master at naturalistic lighting, and his skill really shows in this film.
DP Matt Scott has done a wonderful job of dissecting Deakins work on the film, which you can read here. He goes in depth on compositional choices, color pallette, and lensing choices. A lot of it is educated guessing, and a lot of it really rings true. If you enjoyed the film or are a Deakins fan, this is a must-read.