Murder in the First Reviews
After seeing this movie, I was sick with rage and violent thoughts. A part of me wanted to go on a killing spree, preferably of the entire race. We have an unlimited capacity for cruelty, to a level which I'm not sure can be balanced by random acts of kindness or whatever. Prisons are the ultimate test of our natures, because the opportunity for cruelty is afforded, abetted, and legitimized by society's tacit approval. Dostoyevsky saw this, and declared that the character of a people can be seen by how they treat their prisoners. He also wrote a character who said that it would be better for humanity not to exist than for one innocent child to suffer a cruel fate. In every meaningful way, henri Young was this innocent child, and we haven't changed, even if we've closed Alcatraz.
Christian Slater is solid in the lead role. Standout performance, however, goes to Kevin Bacon. He makes the movie. How he did not get an Oscar nomination, I do not know. Gary Oldman is excellent as the bad guy, but that's a given. Good supporting cast which includes William H Macy, Embeth Davidz and Stephen Tobolowsky, plus Kyra Segewick and Mia Kirshner in minor roles.
Only dull note is the performance of R Lee Ermey as the judge. He was not convincing at all. He really should stick to gunnery sergeant roles...
finish. Kevin Bacon is an excellent actor whose been in many a bad movie, but he always manages elevated the entire production by his performance.