The Latest

THE LATEST

THE LATEST THINKING

THE LATEST THINKING

The opinions of THE LATEST’s guest contributors are their own.

"Shotcaller" (2017): A Tense and Well-Executed Prison Crime Drama

Ryan Beltran

Posted on February 4, 2021 22:15

2 users

Director Ric Roman Waugh brings into action an emotionally tense prison drama around a once simple family man who turns into a gang member after forced to serve time at prison for an accidental DUI accident.

  “Shotcaller” (2017) is a prison crime drama film directed by Ric Roman Waugh and stars Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (“Game of Thrones”), who plays  Jacob “Money” Harlon, a former stockbroker from Pasadena who turns into a high ranking gangster of a white supremacist crime syndicate.

  After an unintentional fatal DUI car accident that killed his best friend during the incident, Harlon is sentenced to 16 months in prison. He is then sent to serve his time at a maximum-security prison, where he meets and joins a violent all-white prison gang for his own means of survival inside the complex.

  Thinking his commitment would be only temporary, his original sentence turns into 10 more years behind bars after becoming too involved with the gang's activities inside the prison walls.

  After serving his time inside, Jacob is transformed from a once simple family man with a wife and son to a gang leader, forced to level up the ranks of this connected Neo-Nazi portrayed crime syndicate. 

  “Shotcaller” really sets up a dark tone throughout and highlights the tragic story of Jacob’s unlucky situation and the endless illegal tasks he is coerced to do.

    The film is grim, depressing, and depicts some of the dark realistic sides of America’s prison system, while also portraying the dangerous consequences of anyone who gets involved too far deep within the life of crime.

  You don’t want to totally sympathize with Jacob and who he turns into, but the story can really suck you in and empathize with the unavoidable circumstances Harlon has to face for himself. The character is clearly an unfortunate case of a man who has become deeply indebted to criminal life and, in the process, has hurt his relationship with his family, friends, and others close to him.

    Waugh’s style of storytelling uses a good combination of flashback scenes to help viewers better connect the backstory of Jacob, from when life was at its best to when his life turned downhill. To add, Waugh uses great detail and context in most of the scenes to describe Jacob’s life before prison and his transformation during his time in prison.

  The intensity of the film also helps the film to be effective in telling its central premise, from the subtle personality of “Money's” character, captivating score in many tense scenes, and to the other acting performances from the rest of the talented supporting cast.

  “Shotcaller” can be dragging to an extent and many viewers might not be the biggest fan of the repeated back-and-forth time skips to narrate the story, but even then the film is gripping and powerful from the beginning to end.

  Furthermore, the film aspires to be thought-provoking in its narration and can hit hard for many, regardless if you relate to the characters and story.

Ryan Beltran

Posted on February 4, 2021 22:15

Comments

comments powered by Disqus
THE LATEST THINKING

Webisode

Meet Jeff UPDATED FINAL

Video Site Tour

The Latest
The Latest

Subscribe to THE LATEST Newsletter.

The Latest
The Latest

Share this TLT through...

The Latest