‘Always hurt the audience’, said Hitchcock. And boy, was he right.
There are some moments in Felon that made me scream ‘nooooo’, hell, this movies stabbed an ice-pick in my heart and pulled it out through my back, handle and all.
That’s what makes it so good. It’s raw, it’s brutal, and yet, it’s still nuanced.
The sadistic prison lieutenant who terrorizes the inmates and bullies his colleagues into going along with his wicked designs is also a very careful, loving, thoughtful father who can win the affection of a stranger in no time if he wants to. His warmth seems to be as genuine as his meanness.
The main character, the felon, gets locked up for protecting his family, and though any man would say he did the right thing, he does end up taking a man’s life, so the viewer is left with a severe moral dilemma. Some time behind bars is probably the right sentence for him, but…
… not in the American prison system…
You are left wondering how prisons can become hell on earth, with people acting out violently, just for the sake of being violent, as though smashing someone’s skull is the whole point of being.
One of the ‘relief’ moments is when the inmates finally unite and form a united front against their guards. It’s a token to human stupidity that they fail to do this 99,9 percent of the time.
In a great movie you find yourself rooting for the main character. I did in this movie, so this movie worked for me.
The friendship that evolves between the, let’s say, ‘lightweight’ felon and his cellmate, the ‘hardweight’ felon never gets melodramatic and comes off as authentic without the movie spelling out too loudly why these two become friends.
The acting is good. The love interest of the main character is beautiful, without having that stale, plastic Hollywoodian model look.
Is it the best movie you’ve ever seen?
No, the plot comes up too short, too easy… It all ends too sudden and too painlessly… But it’s good, it’s a damn fine movie.
And it gives me shivers thinking that right now there are millions of people locked up in the US, the largest prison population of any country, in some of the most savage circumstances ever created…
All hail the correction facilities of The Netherlands, Scandinavia and other countries who give their erring brothers and sisters a fighting chance to better their ways.