Wednesday, June 12, 2013



Felon (2008), starring Val Kilmer and Stephen Dorff, is certainly not a perfect movie but it is a generally good, if disturbing, film with an important message about America's out of control police-judicial-prison-industrial complex. The film was made in a New Mexico prison and was inspired by actual events. In 1996, the Los Angeles Times published "Tales of Brutality Behind Bars" concerning the brutality of prison guards at the California State Prison, Corcoran; this is the real-life background of Felon. Mark Arax's article and Felon illustrate that there is no shortage of criminal gang members wearing uniforms and badges. Without really trying, I found a more recent example of this in a St. Louis Post-Dispatch article, "Suit says guards made inmates fight 'gladiator-style' in St. Louis jail," from last year. Another point Felon makes is how vulnerable even the most seemingly unlikely people are to being ensnared in the system. Felon writer-director Ric Roman Waugh has followed up Felon with Snitch (2013), starring Dwayne Johnson and also inspired by true events, which deals with much the similar subject matter. At right is an infographic from the Snitch official web site.

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