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Felon (2008)

tomatometer

61

Average Rating: 6.4/10
Reviews Counted: 23
Fresh: 14 | Rotten: 9

Felon offers a rather hackneyed depiction of prison life, but is held together by a pleasantly complex plot and solid performances from Kilmer and Dorff.

57

Average Rating: 6.2/10
Critic Reviews: 14
Fresh: 8 | Rotten: 6

Felon offers a rather hackneyed depiction of prison life, but is held together by a pleasantly complex plot and solid performances from Kilmer and Dorff.

audience

82

liked it
Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 13,620

My Rating

Movie Info

A loving husband and father finds his promising future transformed into a waking nightmare when he's convicted of involuntary manslaughter after accidentally killing the burglar who broke into his home in this gritty prison drama starring Stephen Dorff and Val Kilmer. Wade Porter (Dorff) would have done anything to protect his family, and when they were threatened he did what any caring family man would have done. But somehow everything went wrong, and now Wade has been sentenced to spend three

R,

Drama, Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense

Ric Roman Waugh

Jul 18, 2008

Sony Pictures Entertainment

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July 17, 2008:
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All Critics (24) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (14) | Rotten (9) | DVD (7)

It's still white-knuckle tense, and held together by dozens of small, well-observed moments.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Stephen Dorff's powerhouse perf as an ordinary Joe trapped behind bars with warring ethnic psychopaths propels "Felon" well ahead of its expose/exploitation brethren while still avoiding the pious learning curves of Frank Darabont's prestige prison dramas

July 21, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Tough, brutish prison drama with an easy windup, but good acting and an uncompromising take on the prison system.

July 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Newsday
Newsday
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Written and directed by Ric Roman Waugh, and filmed at the New Mexico State Penitentiary near Santa Fe, Felon is one of the most realistic prison films ever made.

July 18, 2008 | Comments (4)
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A good cast and disciplined direction add some distinction to Ric Roman Waugh's Felon, which is basically the old tale about an innocent man corrupted by a stay in prison.

July 18, 2008 Full Review Source: New York Post
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A subplot involving corrupt guards makes the movie even duller than the score that sounds like a rusty squeezebox.

July 18, 2008 Full Review Source: New York Daily News | Comment (1)
New York Daily News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The plot expands and gets more complex as the story progresses, and the dramatic tension ratchets up

November 14, 2008 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

...establishes itself as a gritty, thoroughly compelling prison drama that rarely relies on the various tropes of the genre.

October 3, 2008 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

Dorff, who was last spotted as a scary sexual sadist in Shadowboxer, gives a mesmerizing performance evolving from stunned civilian to brutalized inmate and dangerous prison thug, then transforming into a tested man who rediscovers his own humanity.

August 1, 2008 Full Review Source: NewsBlaze
NewsBlaze

This tough, uncompromising, cautionary thriller should be a wake-up call about America's outrageously archaic laws insofar as defending the sanctity of home and family.

July 26, 2008 Full Review Source: SSG Syndicate
SSG Syndicate

Felon ventures outside the prison walls so often that the audience doesnâ(TM)t get a prolonged sense of the claustrophobia of confinement; the rage being displayed actually dispels the sense of isolation and boredom.

July 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine | Comment (1)
Boxoffice Magazine

Kilmer and Dorff, who was also an executive producer, immerse themselves in difficult roles and the film's overall air of social commitment will surprise viewers drawn in by its exploitation-movie promotion.

July 18, 2008 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

While the film is violent and decidedly tragic, the overall sensation of watching it is nothing you haven't experienced before with numerous films, from Death Warrant to Lock Up to Oz.

July 17, 2008 Full Review Source: Bangitout.com
Bangitout.com

Former stuntman Rick Waugh turns writer/director to make a compelling and gritty drama that is as much a commentary on America's failed justice/prison system as it is about the devastation suffered by an honest family man imprisoned for killing a burglar

July 15, 2008 Full Review Source: ColeSmithey.com
ColeSmithey.com

Felon flounders in convincingly resolving its protagonist's plight.

July 14, 2008 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine | Comment (1)
Slant Magazine

Audience Reviews for Felon

A bit sappy, but the acting was better than expected.
October 19, 2012
cchclaw

Super Reviewer

A construction worker accidentally kills an intruder in his home and finds himself incarcerated in a maximum security prison with a hardcore lifer who reluctantly teaches him the ins and outs of prison politics. On the surface, Felon is a typical gangbanger vs. skinhead/shower rape prison drama, but it is in fact surprisingly sophisticated. Stephen Dorff puts in a great performance as the "hero" who is not your usual "innocent man fighting an unjust system" from cliche and it shows in a believable way how a man who is decent at heart could become institutionalized. Val Kilmer is also excellent as his charismatic cell mate who knows that he will never be released and it shows prison not only from the point of view of the inmates, but also its effects on the guards and those left on the outside. It reminded me a little of Traffic for this reason and in a similar way frames its themes within a story that could be considered contrived, but its structure provides a solid framework that means it can avoid becoming desperately bleak and has a satisfying conclusion that doesn't get too schmaltzy. A real surprise for me and one of the best prison films I've seen in a long while.
October 3, 2012
garyX
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

A pleasant find, thought this was going to be a full on Action style film, with over the top performances, instead we have a pretty naturally acted, fairly realistic Prison Drama.

A survivial of the fittest tale of man destined to serve his sentance, by unfortunate circumstance. Even Val Kilmer was better in this role than most.

Steven Dorff is back on top with the performance in this film.
May 5, 2010
76Majikat

Super Reviewer

Prison movies are my favorite just because they scare the crap out of me. And what could make a prison movie better than Stephen Dorff and an old gruff Val Kilmer? I liked that Nick Chinlund plays a good guy (sort of) for once. Harold Perrineau once again plays an asshole really well. Pretty good stuff all around. I'm glad it didn't have an escape from prison ending like 99% of these movies do.
March 25, 2010
puffchunk
Curtis Lilly

Super Reviewer

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