Both Gyllenhaal and Jackman answered questions about the film, directed by Denis Villeneuve, in Toronto on Saturday.
Gyllenhaal, who received cries of "We love you, Jake" from the audience, said that he was attracted to the film's various plot turns.
"So many scenes in this movie, there are like four ways in which you can go," Gyllenhaal told Variety at the festival.
"What I loved about the script was the moral ambiguity," Jackman, 44, said of his character, Keller Dover, who reacts violently to his daughter's kidnapping.
The film kind of delves into and plays with the whole idea of whether [my character] is heroic or not. I remember watching the film with my wife and she spent the first hour holding my hand, but squeezing it to the point I had indentations. But there was a certain point in the movie where my wife actually took her hand away from mine. I think that she was getting uncomfortable.
Gyllenhaal, who also stars in Villeneuve's film "Enemy," said the 45-year-old Canadian director loves to explore "themes."
"Denis is obsessed in the themes in his movies. He picks a number of things that intellectually and emotionally stimulate him and he will follow that through, through an entire movie," Gyllenhaal said.
Asked whether he had a Christopher Nolan-Christian Bale relationship with Villeneuve, Gyllenhaal said:
I think what Denis and I have is we have a great love for studio movies or larger movies, but keeping the human aspect to it and the psychology and the sense of detail and preparation and exploration and never taking anything for granted -- which happens when somebody gives you a lot of money sometimes to make something. I think we both share that, and his intention, I love. His intention is just to make great movies, no matter the size. And I think he really has, particularly in the case of "Prisoners."
Watch the "Prisoners" press conference below: