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Erik Van Looy
Ron, who's young, slight, and privileged, is sentenced to prison on marijuana charges. For whatever reason, he brings out paternal feelings in an 18-year prison veteran, Earl Copan, who takes Ron under his wing. The film explores the nature of that relationship, Ron's part in Earl's gang, and the way Ron deals with aggressive cons intent on assault and rape. There's casual racism, too, in the prisoners and the guards, a strike called by Black prisoners, and the nearly omnipresence of hard drugs. Ron's lawyer is working on getting Ron out quickly, Earl has a shot at parole, and death seems to be waiting in the next cell. Will prison turn Ron into an animal? Written by
Pay no attention to these other reviews; the people who wrote them don't know what they're talking about: In 1996 I was convicted of armed robbery and sent to prison in Washington state for eight years (of which I did seven)and I'm here to tell you that ANIMAL FACTORY is the real deal; I was a lot like the character played by Edward Furlong and I was lucky enough to meet men like the character played by Wilem Dafoe, guys who didn't want to rape me, guys who didn't want to kill me, guys who acted decently amidst all of the indecency.
Since my release from prison in 2003 I am invariably asked the two big questions when it comes to incarceration in this country: A) did I get raped? and B) is prison really like you see on OZ?
Well, luckily, I didn't get raped and I've never seen OZ but anyone who wants to see what prison is like should get a gander at ANIMAL FACTORY. The entire film drips with authenticity. Within 2 minutes I felt that old queasy feeling in my stomach--exactly as if I were back there myself, all over again.
For those of you out there who might think there is still a bit of rebellious glamour left in going to prison, watch ANIMAL FACTORY and take it from me: being locked up is not cool and its not fun and it is not something that anyone should aspire to.
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