Stars: Stephen Dorff, Marisol Nichols, Harold Perrineau, Sam Shepard, and Val Kilmer
Written and directed by: Ric Roman Waugh
Felon is a well produced compelling Prison drama that assaults your senses and pulls you down for a journey into the corrupt underworld of the American penal system.
Wade Porter (Dorff) is a normal family man with a wife and young son. He’s just received a business loan and is about to expand his company when his home is broken into. In an attempt to protect his family he ends up killing the burglar. Due to circumstances he’s convicted of involuntary manslaughter and sent to prison for three years. His life quickly turns into a world of race related conflicts and violent gang initiations, all forced on him by the fight or die lifestyle of state prison. He’s eventually involved with the death of a fellow inmate and sentenced to additional time at the SHU (a maximum security facility.) This puts a heavy strain on his wife Laura (Nichols) who is struggling to support the family and keep their marriage alive.
Meanwhile legendary life-prisoner John Smith (Kimer), is once again busted for inciting a prison riot, rather then sending him to solitary he’s also transported to the SHU. Once at the SHU, Porter is given his own cell but that doesn’t last long as Smith soon becomes his bunk mate. If that’s not bad enough the Head Prison Guard Lt. Jackson (Perrineau) encourages the racial tension so that he and his guards can enjoy the violence in their own sadistic ways.
Great performances by Kilmer and Doriff. They actually take this film and give it a boost in acting quality. Even when the story gets into disturbing areas its grounded by their performances. This isn’t like other Prison type films I found it to be very original. Kilmer fans take note, this is one of his best performances in years. Other great performances by, Marisol Nichols (24) and Harold Perrineau (Matrix 2 & 3). Overall an action packed, true to life story of a normal man forced into a brutal situation and his way of dealing with it. Its a well paced intense film that’s really all about the life changing journey.
Dvd Bonus features include: The Shark Tank, (an inside look at Felon). English & french subtitles.