21 April 2020 | ofumalow
Decent prison thriller
This prison drama is well-directed and acted enough to get you past its considerable implausibilities: We're supposed to believe first that the entirely innocent protagonist is sent to jail for trying to cover for a stranger's shoplifting (Victoria Abril. whose character later marries him, perhaps out of guilt). Then he's almost immediately an innocent bystander caught up in other prisoners' jailbreak, and is given a long prison sentence for THAT based on guards' falsified testimony. The rest of the film has him tormented by the guard who blames him for his being wounded, even though that wasn't at all the hero's fault, either. The result is variously like "On the Yard," "Fortune and Men's Eyes," "Midnight Express" in that the new fish is abused by guards and fellow prisoners alike, blackmailed, beaten and forced into violence. Though in the end the story is not as bleakly worst-case-scenario as you might be expecting.
Berry brings a lot of conviction to his role, Richard Bohringer is excellent as the Javert-like villain, and Vincent Lindon is vivid as the psychotic inmate that villain manipulates against our hero. This isn't a serious indictment of justice or the prison system so much as just a character-driven thriller, and as such it's satisfying. Some of the music on the English-dubbed print I saw is a bit inappropriate, though-too heavy on wailing 80s guitars and not focused enough on heightening suspense.