Shot Caller is a blend of concepts and characters we’ve seen in other, very similar movies that works surprisingly well. As an entertaining thriller that you’re going to watch one time and then forget all about it that is. Clearly, this isn’t a masterpiece like Brawl in Cell Block 99 or Celda 211. It follows the classic story of an ordinary man who ends up in jail and has to change his whole personality. I can already feel the emotions running wild with the male population thinking about this prospect. Oh man, I would become so tough and dangerous, no one would mess with me!
Let us, however, begin with the director’s previous hit Felon from 2008. Starring Val Kilmer and Stephen Dorff, it’s a story about a family man who accidentally kills a burglar and ends up in a maximum-security prison. Now, Shot Caller is an entirely different movie where a family man accidentally kills his friend in a car crash and ends up in a maximum-security prison. Our homeboy Ric Roman Waugh clearly loves his prison setting and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Jacob Harlon has just been released from prison. Tattooed, tall, and muscular, he’s quite intimidating. However, this wasn’t always like this. And there was a time when Jacob led a quiet family life. But then he found himself in a whirlwind of violence, murder, and crime. This is his story.
The fact that the story of Shot Caller we’ve heard and seen so many times before doesn’t take away much from its value. Mostly because this is a commercial movie and should be treated as such. It will keep your attention for almost two hours and that says something. At least it did mine. All the issues and themes explored here are powerful and thought-provoking. Moreover, Waugh’s approach highlighted them in a matter-of-fact and unbiased way. I also loved the cinematography here with saturated colors and a sleek feel to it.
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau was excellent and the same can be said for the rest of the cast. We’ve got Lake Bell and Jon Bernthal who also gave convincing performances. And I really liked the ending of this movie. Finally, if you’re looking for movies like Shot Caller check out our selection of Prison Movies. Among them is one of my favorites, Blood In Blood Out featuring a story of epic proportions.
Director: Ric Roman Waugh
Writer: Ric Roman Waugh
Cast: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Omari Hardwick, Lake Bell, Jon Bernthal, Emory Cohen, Holt McCallany
Fun Facts: Shotgun has a tattoo on his neck that says PEN1 (Public Enemy No. 1.). PEN1 is a white street gang from Orange County California.