Gerald Wright's Movie Coverage
FELON MOVIE REVIEW
Directed & Written by: Ric Roman Waugh
Running time: 104 minutes
Release date: July 18, 2008
Genre: Drama and Crime
Distributor: Stage 6 Films
MPAA Rating: R
Felon, is based on actual events and characterizes the very bad treatment at California's Corcoran State Prison and how one man's life is turn inside out.
This film tells a story of a hard working man named Wade Porter (Stephen Dorff), who has a modest and comfortable life with his soon to be wife, Laura (Marisol Nichols), and their young son Michael. One night an intruder breaks into his home and Wade scares him off; however, Wade assaults the robber outside of his home. In order to legally protect yourself and family in this type of situation, one must physically protect oneself within the confines of the home. In this case, Wade assaulted and killed the would-be robber on his front lawn. In a swift instance, Wade is arrested, jailed, sentenced and sent to a hellhole of a prison. The calamity damage of Wade no longer being able to provide for Laura and Michael causes unbearable anguish for all members of the family. Laura is forced to move in with her single mother Maggie (Ann Archer) who has a negative impression towards men.
While sharing an emotional story of what families endure while there family member (s) are incarcerated, this film explores the serious consequences of a law abiding citizen who makes a mistake and must suffer the codes of justice. The other side of the equation is how this film delivers an authentic story of how inmates must survive within the prison system. Wade finds outs out that racism, violence, sexual intimidation and drug dealing is part of the norm behind bars. He shares a cell with John Smith (Val Kilmer) a man who is serving a life sentence. John teaches Wade the rules of survival in prison, which essentially is chosing the right gang for protection. The Correction Officers are subject to the same amount of violence as the inmates; however, in this case the C.O.s cross the line by invoking the violence. Prison officials are in jail physically, but must think as a prisoner.
Stephen Dorff who portrays Wade Porter gives an excellent performance. This gritty and brutal role seems perfect for this actor whose filmography consist of parts in Shadowboxer with Cuba Gooding Jr. and Helen Mirren and Blade opposite Wesley Snipes. Val Kilmer who is one of the most prolific actors today when you consider his entire career, gives a riveting and powerful portrayal of an enigmatic killer who befriends Wade. The chemistry between these two men is perfect as they both give bone chilling performances. The realism of this film is critical and it is matched by the magnificent supporting cast members consisting of Harold Perrineau as the corrupt and vengeful Lt. Jackson, Marisol Nichols as Laura Porter, a woman torn between waiting for her fiancee to return home from jail and rebuilding her life without him, and the graceful Ann Archer as Maggie, who plays Laura's mother who has entirely lost her belief in men. Veteran actor Sam Shepard also has a small role as a retired Correctional Officer who exposes the corruption.
This low budget movie is a winner.
FILM RATING (A)