Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Movie Review ... Convict


convict posterPrison-set stories have always managed to compel.  The mix of personalities confined in small spaces has provided a multitude of edgy dramas.  TV shows such as ‘Oz’ and ‘Prisoner’ used this setting to hugely popular effect.  The latest film from ‘Chopper’ director David Field, ‘Convict’ attempts to weave an engrossing narrative.  Despite milking the concept to its fullest, the execution falters with the much desired captivating quality seemingly sent to solitary confinement.

Responsible for an accidental death, Ray (George Basha) faces a tough test.  Being a soldier recently returned from a Middle Eastern tour of duty, his skills only provide scant use inside prison.  Striking a friendship with Aboriginal man David (Richard Green) his days become a daily battle for survival.  This is especially true when dealing with corrupt prison officers and inmates.  Ray soon develops a tougher skin in order to confront the harsh realities of a decayed system.

‘Convict’ creates frustrating viewing.  Whilst the central idea is sound and offers interesting moments, it fails to hold attention.  Due to some poor direction and amateurish acting, the myriad of themes become swamped by creative lethargy.  There’s no effort in providing something different from other prison-based films as it becomes a ‘greatest hits’ of genre clichés.  The story follows a very predictable path with a conclusion too neatly tied together.

Richard Green as Ray’s friend is the stand-out of the ensemble.  He is one of the few to truly inhabit his character rather than acting out scenes with little emotion.  The clumsily handled fight scenes aren’t much help as they dilute any tension and ruin the atmospheric grittiness for which ‘Convict’ obviously strives.  In spite of many flaws, ‘Convict’ shows some potential with the producer’s next movie hopefully graced with a better script and performers.

Those wanting their fix of enthralling prison-based drama may be disappointed with ‘Convict’.  Devoid of much artistic flair or authenticity, it appears TV still has the market cornered in making jail-time look truly tortuous.

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Movie Review Rating out of 10:  6

Movie Review by Patrick Moore

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