Director: Ric Roman Waugh
Writer: Ric Roman Waugh
Starring: Stephen Dorff, Marisol Nichols and Vincent Miller
This film begins in the home of a happy family. Stephen Dorff has his own construction company, he is going to be marrying Marisol Nichols and they have a beautiful child together. That all comes to an end when a man breaks into their home and tries to rob them, during which Dorff chases him out. The man flees from the home and in the heat of the moment, Dorff believes he is pulling a weapon and hits him in the back of the head with a bat, killing him.
The police investigation is against him and he is arrested. In the holding cell, an African-American attacks him for ‘eyeballing’ him and this is where he gets his first taste of being inside. Soon after he meets with his public defender and learns that his best course of action is to plead to involuntary manslaughter. He’s told the 3 year sentence will only be a year and half if he can stay out of trouble.
On the bus ride to prison, a man attacks another with a shank and leaves him in critical condition. Dorff is giving the weapon and told to stay quiet if he wants protection. In doing so, he is held in the tightest security in the prison, under the Lt. Jackson, played by Harold Perrineau.
This film shows the dirtiness of the prison system, it shows the worst case, but even half of this is horrible. The only way for Dorff to survive is to join a gang, but in order to do that he has to go against society. The guards are even dirty in this film, allowing fights, having prisoners entertainer them, things I’m sure happen, but not the norm.
An interesting character I wanted to bring up was Val Kilmer in this film. He plays a crazy man who has his own philosophy and is one of the most dangerous men in the prison. As the film progresses, you really see what he is like inside and doesn’t seem that unlike most people, just with years in prison has changed him.
This film is excellent in the plot, acting and subject matter. I definitely recommend viewing this if you want to see what prisons do to people, what it would be like to survive in one and/or want to see what the corruption of power can do to individuals. I am also adding this to the horror film research due to the fact that he is protecting his family and screwed by the legal system. To make matters worse, he is in the wrong place at the wrong time. He has to fight for his morals while dealing with the corruption around him.
My Rating: 8 out of 10