Murder in the First Reviews
"One broke his silence. The other broke the system."
I did not for the most part like Murder in the First. Most of that came from my general distaste for the lead, Christian Slater. Everything he does in this movie irritates me. The rest of the cast is amazing though, especially Kevin Bacon, who gives one of the better performances I have seen from him. Gary Oldman and William H. Macy are also good, but they have such small roles that they don't really affect my feelings toward the movie.
Murder in the First is the true story of Henri Young, a man who was convicted of stealing $5 and sent to Alcatraz. He tried to escape, but was unsuccessful and ended up being put in solitary confinement. There was supposed to be a limit on how long a man could stay in solitary and that was 19 days. Henri was stuck there for three years and when he came out he killed the man who narced him out. The rest of the movie is an average courtroom drama that seems really fabricated. I don't that that is the case necessarily, but nothing the film really felt genuine. It seems as if a lot of liberties were taken in approaching this story.
It is still a worthwhile film to watch because of that performance from Kevin Bacon as Henri and of course because the story is a pretty interesting one. I just think this could have been done so much better and that it could have benefited from having a better lead. He isn't a terrible actor, but he is just all wrong in this role. Christian Slater seems more at home in movies like Very Bad Things.
The producers wanted authenticity so Bacon, Slater and Oldman spent some of their free time locked in jail cells while the movie was being filmed. Kevin Bacon even lost twenty pounds for his role as the Alcatraz inmate.
Kevin Bacon plays a very good role in this as a petty criminal imprisioned for a small crime, who suffers bad treatment at the hands of the prison staff..
VERDICT: Those who have interest in the true stories/prison filsm will enjoy this film
The story is chilling and dark and Kevin Bacon is riveting in his role as a prisoner made to suffer the mental anguish of solitary confinement. His portrayal is not only outstanding but is emotionally draining to watch.
When he is finally released into general prison population he snaps and in a sudden, insane rage, plunges a spoon into the throat of a fellow inmate, one who had foiled the escape attempt by ratting on him. A novice lawyer James Stamphill (Christian Slater) takes his case and finds a history of cruelty and suffering. He uses the incident to expose how cruel Alcatraz is accusing the institution of turning Henri into a weapon by repeated mistreatment and brutality.
Henri Young was convicted for stealing 5$ from post office and sent to Alcatraz, the most secured jail for the most dangerous criminals. After a futile escape mission he was sent to dungeon and got out as a murderer after thousand days, though maximum 19 days in dungeon is the official punishment was allowed. He became scared and confused savage and killed one of the prisoners. It was a sure to lose case and so James Stamphill , a fresh law graduate was appointed as his lawyer. But rest is history! Based on a true story, Murder in the first is a masterpiece by Marc Rocco shows how the dungeon of Alcatraz was shut down for ever.
Kevin Bacon was amazing as a tortured prisoner in Alcatraz. Christian Slater plays a youthful, inexperienced attorney to perfection and Gary oldman plays the part sadistically good.
This is a movie that will touch you emotionally, one of the best movies ever made. A classic. The way you feel you want to rescue Kevin, from the cruel and vile treatment he endures. The beauty of the movie is that it shows you the truth as to how harsh life was back in the 1930's and what people did to survive, if caught the punishment was very harsh.
Amazaing movie, it endeavour's to show strength and triumph.
All in all, Kevin Bacon lets this one shine and it is worth your time for him alone, the direction and supp. cast is average (except for abysmal Slater) and does nothing to make it or break it.