This movie is an old favourite of mine that I thought I’d rewatch this weekend, although by no means a perfect movie, it’s still a good one to watch every now and then.
Based in a modern day prison, an ex-lieutenant general, Eugene Irwin (Redford) is sentenced to 10 years jail for disobeying orders and causing the deaths of several men under his command. Originally he had only planned to ‘do his time and go home,’ but upon discovering how corrupt the prison warden, Colonel Winter (Gandolfini) is, Irwin rallies together the prison inmates with the sole intent of overthrowing the guards and taking control of the Colonel’s prison, effectively forcing him to resign.
A fair few people seem to have watched this expecting an action flick, and although it did have a relatively large portion of fighting, I don’t think this is the point of the movie. When I think action I think Terminator, not this. This is a movie about what it means to be a nation and to be free men, lucky for us, that also means overthrowing the evil suppressors that are keeping us underfoot, giving the film some good action to keep things interesting.
The acting in the movie is fairly well done, especially on Redford’s behalf. I really enjoyed Reford’s narrated parts as well as I’ve always had a big soft spot for partly narrated movies. Gandolfini’s character came off as a complete and utter bastard, which I guess is a good thing considering he’s the villain of the piece, somehow though there was still something I didn’t like about him. I think arrogant characters like that just annoy me because I find it difficult to comprehend how a person can be that much of an ass. Both Mark Ruffalo and Clifton Collins’ characters both deserve an honorable mention for their supporting roles in the film as well.
Overall, I give this film 7 stars out of 10. Perhaps not the greatest masterpiece ever created, but it is good and well worth watching once.