Saturday, January 2, 2010

Felon (2008)

(Spoiler Alert: Read at Your Own Risk!)

During a home invasion, Wade Porter (Stephen Dorff) chases a burglar from the home he shares with his fiancĂ© and child. As he’s being chased, the burglar grabs for something. Porter assumes it’s a weapon and smashes the man’s head with a baseball bat, inadvertently killing him. The burglar turns out unarmed. The fact he was outside the home, running away leads Porter to an involuntary manslaughter charge and a three-year  prison sentence. Not familiar with the ways of the prison system, Porter is thrust into the Darwinian environment to fend for himself.

In the clink Porter’s sits in disbelief in his tiny cell, apprehensive about his new life. Add to this the fact that he isn’t a big guy and knows no one on the inside. The terror of the door opening for Porter to join the other prisoners for outside time for the first time is scary but it’s quickly eclipsed when another prisoner follows him out and a brawl ensues. Turns out the prison guards have their own game.

When Porter gets a cellmate called John Smith (Val Kilmer), he starts learning the ropes. In the meantime, his fiancĂ© Laura (Marisol Nichols) is dealing with life on the outside, trying to keep up with the bills. As time progresses, the money issues turn into a disaster. Porter begins to change as he makes alliances for protection, but it’s going to cost him everything unless he can come up with a plan.

This beauty of this movie is Dorff’s ability to show us the ordinary guy in jail. No career criminal, he’s out of his element. You see how a split-second decision can break a person and practically ruin his life.

Writer/Director: Ric Roman Waugh

Country: US

Genre: Drama

Run time: 104 minutes

Scale: 3.5

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