The prison movie sub-genre has always been an interesting one. Closed environment, explosive and colorful characters and brutal hierarchy are the elements that epitomize this setting. Actually if you would like to ponder about our social structure and the way this world works, prison is a great place to start. It’s easy to make analogies and develop theories with set number of elements and enough data about their interaction. Animal Factory is a fitting title for a movie set in prison, especially if you realize that the return rates as well as repeat offenders rates are soaring high. Based on the novel of the same name by Eddie Bunker, this is above all an authentic movie, showing the true nature of the prison system and what’s going on behind the bars. Directed by none other than Steve Fucking Buscemi and starring William Dafoe and Edward Furlong, helped by a series of tough guys like Danny Trejo and Mickey Rourke, the crew involved in this movie is just amazing.

Animal Factory [2000] Movie Review Recommendation PosterRon Decker, a young kid sentenced for dealing marijuana winds up in a San Quentin prison. Inexperienced and privileged, he’s a perfect prey for other inmates. However, one of the more expirienced prisoners, Earl Copen decides to take him under his wing…

A intense and very emotional relationship between the boy and his mentor played masterfully by Willem Dafoe, is one of the highlights of the movie. This is not some flashy thriller or drama with classically set up big scenes, but a low-key slow-burner where you will find those breaking moments in a single look or a hand gesture. I know that his will irritate some of the viewers, who were expecting something much grittier, especially since Shawshank Redemption smashed the sub-genre as one of the best prison movies ever made. It set a certain standard, and Animal Factory tries to achieve it graciously.

Director: Steve Buscemi

Cast: Willem Dafoe, Edward Furlong, Danny Trejo, Mickey Rourke, Tom Arnold, Chris Bauer

Fun Facts: During the show scene, a vocalist is musically accompanied by a violinist and accordionist – the singer is Antony Hegarty (of Antony and the Johnsons) and the song which he sings a version of is “Rapture” which can be found on the band’s self-titled album from 2000.

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IMDb Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0204137/

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