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Shades is a film about (imaginary) Belgian serial killer Freddy Lebecq which producer Max Vogel, a former lawyer, is determined to make into an internationally co-produced, relatively big ... See full summary »
Erik Van Looy
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Mark Boone Junior,
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
Probably the first prison movie I have seen that in no way glorifies prison life. This movie makes it very clear that prison is a dark place and the only people that dwell their are losers not winners (forget the rap music and OZ). There is no good and bad in this prison just those who will make it and those who won't.
The movie follows Edward Furlong; a young drug dealer who is small, skinny and is eyed by every inmate but one (Willem Defoe) as an easy target for rape. I genuinely feared for him and I still shudder to this day over the thought of entering an American prison. However the film does get slow towards the end and it loses its atmosphere once your safe in the knowledge that Edward Furlongs character is well protected by his new friends.
It has to be said though, Mickey Rourke stole the show as a drag queen. One of his best performances. A must see.
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