Just as Wade Porter (Stephen Dorff) is about to expand his building business, his life turns upside-down. In his attempts to stop a burglar he accidentally kills the thief and ends up serving time in a very violent prison.
Prison is always a very dramatic setting. It has given us many classics such as The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile and tv series Prison Break. Surprisingly, you can count this among them.
Porter soon finds himself embroiled in the complicated world of gangs, violence and corruption within the prison walls while his fiancée (Mirisol Nichols) struggles to bring up their son and pay the bills on the outside.
Porter also finds himself subject to the attentions of Lt Jackson (Harold Perrineau, recently seen in Sons Of Anarchy), a corrupt and sadistic guard.
Perrineau steals the show as the vile Jackson but we also see his softer side as he struggles with a recent divorce while still looking after his son.
Val Kilmer (Top Gun, Tombstone) turns in his best performance in a long time as long-term prisoner John Smith, who at first seems a nasty piece of work. The reason for Smith’s conviction and behaviour is eventually revealed in one of the film’s most emotional scenes.
Can Porter overcome the odds and serve his time or will the violence he has become part of consume him and alienate his family?
Made in 2008, Felon is a tense, violent, exciting, emotional and very well acted little known gem of a movie. Catch it as soon as you can.
Ric’s Rating: Essential