A "prison picture" that is sadistic and brutal just for the hell of it.....
, 15 Jul 2012
I always find it difficult to review and rate this kind of stark and violent movie, especially the sadistic prison type.
Of course, they have been made since the earliest days of talking pictures, when an 'innocent' James Cagney fought to remain alive within the walls of prisons stacked with crooked governors and sadistic warders. And who can forget one of those films where Cagney was certainly not innocent but made us love him as he was marched to the electric chair in......well, I won't name the 5* film in case someone does not know it, if that's possible LOL.
Also,Paul Muni's 'I Was A Fugitive Fom A Chain Gang' similarly springs to mind as an early 1930s 'gritty' prison drama.
And , many years later, The Shawshank Redemption made a 'prison picture' one of the most popular films ever made....
rightly so. 'Cool Hand Luke' is an example of a stark but good prison picture where the brutality seems 'necessary'.
But there have been very very ( too) many of this genre that have turned out to be an excuse for the most gratuitous sadism and violence: they range from porn films to 'B' flicks to major Hollywood offerings -----2 Kevin Bacon films spring instantly to my mind, both of which are distressing and disturbing to watch : 'Sleepers'(sexual abuse in a reform school) and ' Murder In The First'.
It's hard for me to draw a line between what are 'stark realism' films of this sort and the 'let's find an excuse for as much obnoxious violence as possible' type.
And the worst ones to bear are the ones where a good and/or innocent man is sent into a prison that is like something out of Hell ( as in this film, 'Felon').
If you're looking for a great film like Shawshank or even a great TV series such as Prison Break, you won't find either in 'Felon'.
What you'll find is a nasty little film which is not entertainment; it is just hard to stomach.
Just not my sort of film , I suppose----it's all about varying opinions. I find this sort of film is just too 'synthetically' made in order to kill any sense of an enjoyable adult film-watching evening. I can hardly believe it got a '15' Certificate, instead of an '18'. Incredible !
BTW, I have to add that Val Kilmer ( who I have not seen for quite a while) shows real talent and acting ability in this movie.
If you like films that show the worst kind of sadism within the prison system, or you just like 'unsettling' violence.....this film is for you.
If you don't......leave this one alone on the shelf. Wish I had.
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