This is an excellent piece of drama, which delves into the skewered world of the legal and penal system. Injustice is rife... emotions and humanity is nil. I guess this is one of the best prison movies you will ever see.
Honestly, it is a dark, sad tale of our system failing an honest man and his family. And when he serves his sentence, we see how his life is torn apart over and over again... to breaking point. Along the way, he befriends a "lifer" who schools him in the way of prison life and the rules to survive in the pen. One a hardened con with no chance, another grasping at the last straws of hope and humanity... before the corrupt prison guards and the other cons turn him into an animal with a number.
Im a student of criminology and the legal system, and have strong views on punishment. This is a great example of the system corrupt, humanity, honesty and morality lost on both sides of the law. It makes you wonder how can we live in a society when we fail those who fall wayward of our rules, so that they do not learn, they do not accept responsibility, they do not repent? And of course, what happens when the people we entrust to uphold our laws and serve us and the inmates, fail at their duty?
It is said that our society can be judged and evaluated according to how we run our prisons. Obviously this is not a 100% accurate view of our prisons... but Im sure that its not far off. Which kinda makes me very nervous.
I am a big Dorff and Kilmer fan, both have my respects as great actors, very underrated. They noth are all class and talent, thats why they make movies like this. Their performances were great. Kilmer stole the show as the devastated, cold, brutal Smith, a man with no future, forever indebted to serve his time and suffer a great emotional injustice... which is not recieving the death penalty so that he can reunite with his dead family. A philosopher and mentor, respected and feared by his peers, Kilmer is excellent (though he has aged terribly)
Anyways, its hardcore raw film-making. Handheld cameras are used a lot, but I thought it gave it a realistic effect to the whole nature of the movie. It picked up pace real quick in the beginning, and moves fast, so its not boring at all. It does explore the nature of being human, a criminal, and our conceptions of justice and law... and then simply, what is right or wrong. Halfway through, it became simpler, and I guess this enabled it to finish strongly with a happy ending.
Remember, this is just a story, but as we had Prison Break on TV purely for entertainment, Felon is entertaining but also wakes us up and makes us see and feel what men go through in prison, how life is drastically different to our world.
Two thumbs up. Enjoy!