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Movie Info

Suburbanite Ron (Edward Furlong) is spoiled, young and not overly worried about the marijuana charges leveled against him. But, after being made out to be a drug dealer, he faces a five-year jail sentence in San Quentin State Prison. Physically frail and unaccustomed to his rough surroundings, Ron is primed to fall victim to sexual predators and bullying guards -- that is, until he's befriended by Earl (Willem Dafoe), a veteran inmate who finds meaning in protecting the vulnerable new kid.

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Critic Reviews for Animal Factory

All Critics (35) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (29) | Rotten (6)

Audience Reviews for Animal Factory

  • Feb 25, 2015
    This Steve Buscemi directed crime drama is not of the same calibre as say, Shawshank, but it offers some originality and is much more easily digestible.
    Gimly M Super Reviewer
  • May 31, 2012
    I will never understand why this film got so much critical acclaim. Yes Dafoes performance was absolutely stunning everyone else was very rubbish especially furlong. I felt zero emotion from him whatsoever his character was annoying. Another major problem is that they make this sound like a very corrupt and Bad prison but yet they didn't show it. Yes there were scenes of violence and a scene of attempted rape but they didn't get in detail enough to make you feel it. All that Dafoes performance offered was to point out how bad the other performances were. It was plain and boring and I can't think of more than one thing I liked about. This movie does not get my recommendation.
    Daniel D Super Reviewer
  • Apr 26, 2012
    [img]http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/user/icons/icon14.gif[/img] Steve Buscemi proves here the extent of his talent, both as a screen presence and as a fine director. Willem Dafoe and Edward Furlong share great chemistry and Danny Trejo brings in a few laughs to the more realistic and gritty prison drama than that of The Shawshank Redemption. It isn't deserving of it's forgotten film status, it has brilliant performances and it is consitently interesting. Dafoe should have been nominated for an Oscar for his performance which was even more powerful than Robbins or Freeman in Shawshank. A powerful and realistic film about having to adapt to your surroundings.
    Directors C Super Reviewer
  • Apr 21, 2012
    Earl Copen: Better to reign in hell than to serve in heaven.  "On the Inside the Rules Are Brutal and the Stakes Are High" Steve Buscemi can definitely direct. Animal Factory was his follow up to the very good character driven alcoholic drama, Trees Lounge. Like his debut, this film has a very gritty, independent feel to it. Animal Factory is also very character driven as well, and the performances are good across the board, especially Willem Dafoe; but would you expect any different. Edward Furlong is well cast as the new fish in the prison. His character stands out as a small, young, and inexperienced inmate, that is thrown into a prison with ruthless criminals. He is taken under the wing of a institutionalized convict named Earl. Earl shows him the ropes and helps him out of some situations that he wouldn't have been able to get himself out of. The great thing about Animal Factory is how it makes you like the criminals without inserting any doubt of their innocence or guilt. We like Earl because of how he helps Ron, despite the fact that he is a ruthless and drug addicted criminal.  Animal Factory doesn't go out of its way to insert any added drama. It feels very held back, when lesser films may have chosen to insert dumb little subplots to make the viewer feel more at home. This is one of those movies you appreciate even more when you look at some of the other efforts from the genre. Where those movies go wrong, this one doesn't. It doesn't simplify or intensify any part of the plot in order to get reactions from the audience. This may put off some viewers, but I really respect movies that are try and succeed at doing just that. This is just a realistic portrayal of prison life, shot in a real prison, with real inmates. It can't get much more realistic than that. It isn't a Shawshank Redemption caliber film, but it is a damn good one. Entertaining and powerful, without being melodramatic or overblown.
    Melvin W Super Reviewer

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