Veteran stunt director Ric Roman Waugh has turned writer-director with FELON, a thoughtful prison drama based on a true story, that lacks momentum in the first two thirds and then dissolves into melodrama in the final third. Despite good location work in New Mexico and fine performances from Stephen Dorff and Val Kilmer, the movie never quite coheres. Dorff plays a successful businessman and husband imprisoned after killing a home intruder, and transferred to maximum security on a false accusation. A shared respect for family leads to a relationship with the older, cannier criminal played by Kilmer in a dude like goatee and replete with colourful tatoos. The crims are victimised by corrupt police, yada, yada, but it never quite captures the peril and cruelty of SHAWSHANK. And, as I said, the final third degenerates and the overall effect that is "meh". Unsurprisingly, this went straight to DVD outside of the US.
FELON was released in the US in summer 2008 and went straight to DVD everywhere else.
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