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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Compelling and Gritty Realism. Jose Pablo Cantillo Is Awesome!

Author: Elswet from .: Fiendish Writings in the Dark :.
19 May 2007

This was so tense and realistic, that I was glued to my seat. Jose Pablo Cantillo is an awesome talent, with a strong presence on the big screen. He made this work seem so real. His performance was not just a performance; he made this feel like he WAS the character.

This little-known work is far above any drama of this type I have ever seen. There are hundreds of dramas concerning prison life and interaction with those who live on the inside. And this one is the most shocking, while touching your heart in a way that stays with you for some time after watching it.

This film is dark, but beautiful in its style and execution. I was moved by the characters, whose exposition is worthy of the audience's emotional investment, while delivering top notch dramatic fare.

"When you look into the Abyss, the Abyss also looks back at you." This is amazing, and it rates a 9.2/10 from...

the Fiend :.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

I proudly proclaim this my biography movie with D.L. as me

Author: drtturner ( from philly
6 January 2006

I was shocked and amazed upon seeing this film. I had procrastinated seeing it as I was to much of a curmudgeon to ante up the $10 to buy it and did not want to pay $3 to rent it. When I got it as part of my all the dvds you can watch in a month for $29, the price was right. In retrospect, this movie is worth anybody's $10. It does a good job so easily, it is difficult to understand why so many films on limited budget can't get it right. Although many of the actors are young, the performances are believable and professionally delivered. I was amazed because I could so relate to the D.L. character working as a shrink in a prison with classes myself. I spearheaded a spelling bee contest almost single handedly, am sympathetic to the plight of inmates which does not always sit well with D.O.C. staff and have played the students in basketball in winning and losing results, but always to the end of building rapport. These are just a snippet of the similarities. I appreciate the idea that the hero character did not always have to have all the answers or get the last word. Sometimes silence is the best therapy and persuasion is not always the best avenue. When the one student rebels and resorts to an arrogant finger pointing indictment it might be a natural and particularly Hollywood reaction to argue back. Just as I do, D.L.'s character absorbs the onslaught and tries to extract some positivity out of the situation. A very perceptive and therapeutic film. Finally, D.L. should be commended for his straight face dramatic turn. He is witty as ever, but as a matter of coincidence and not necessarily design. Thoughs who know him as a King of Comedy or a sitcom father should put aside past indications of his range and give this movie a shot. Similar to comic Jamie Fox, he shows adequate acting chops in carrying the film. One viewer asked why this had not been widely released. I would guess that with the release of Coach Carter in close proximity and the archives which include Remember the Titains and Lean on Me, the inspirational teacher is a film genre that is sparingly devied up for theatrical release. This film has the right stuff, just like those films did.

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9 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Jose Pablo Cantillo brought the character and movie to life. Outstanding performance!!

Author: ksmith-36 from United States
14 September 2005

Jose Pablo Cantillo has made his debut. He has showcased his ability to transform script into life. The movie follows Gabriel Garcia's (Jose) life and his God given poetic talent. D.L. Hughley plays a convincingly sympathetic and caring teacher and husband whom finds himself inspired by Gabriel's talent. The movie photography is fresh and invigorating. It mimics the poetic language style used in the movie. The lighting feels realistic. Jose shows the camera a full range of emotions and always surprised me. D.L.'s character understands Jose's character and is drawn to his unrecognized potential. I can't wait to see more of Jose Pablo Cantillo's work. This is a must see film. I loved it!!!

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A powerful, provocative film.

Author: seancarley
8 December 2005

To me this is what movie-making is about: pushing the envelope, transporting the audience to a place they couldn't or wouldn't go, and creatively taking them through that journey. "Shackles" is a story about a teacher trying to reach the unreachable youth inside Shackleton Penitentiary and some of these scenes will blow you away. Incredibly authentic, tense and at the same time innovative, with edits that show concurrent action and the use of modern "spoken word" poetry, this movie deserves to be seen. Filmmakers can learn a lot about how a powerful, well-written story is crafted into a uniquely edited and directed movie. Performances are knock-out too. There are at least a couple of stars-in-the-making in this one.

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Jose Pablo Cantillo was SenSational! He is at home on the silver screen.

Author: amyhughbanks from United States
18 October 2005

My family and I were very impressed! Shackles is a very interesting movie,we were all at the edge of out seats~awaiting the outcomes.

Jose Pablo Cantillo was sensational! I have seen him in several television performances, but he is definitely at home on 'The Silver Screen'! I thought the Poetry Slam's were really neat and Gabriel(Jose Cantillo) gave an amazing performance. He demanded the audience's attention and kept it! My family and I hope to see much more of Jose Cantillo in the future.

I suggest that everyone watches Shackles, you will not be disappointed. I liked it so much that I purchased it on DVD. The movie was well-written, wonderfully produced, and the cast performed very well together. I commend all of you. Best wishes for the future!

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:


Author: madoxxe from La Suedé
6 October 2005

An Oscar to Jose Pablo Cantillo for outstanding performance! Happened to come across this film just by luck! And it was truly good luck. Haven't seen a better film for a very long time. It's to much sci-fi in films today. To much pretend, this is real, this id life and this i a great story of the world and how it don't work today. This is real. This film made me think! Not many films does that today. This film had my full attention all the way. School and education for everyone, refugees, poor and starving. The world wont survive without it. Real life! Great performance by Daniel Louis Rivas. Well written by Donald Martin. And well directed by Charles Winkler.

See this film it's worth it!!

That's it for me!

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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

A talented man, a inspiring film

Author: Dru_Raga from United States
27 September 2005

Jose Cantillo is so fine. He truly brought out the character in the role he played. I am so in Love with his style. He is one of the best actors in the entertainment industry and he should get recognized as that. I am sure that years to come he will stand out. He is a dream to me, "All that and a bag of chips." I would go to see anything he plays in. The film was really inspiring, I love the poetic parts about it. I am a poet myself and poetry has a way of making a person think. DL he really played a wonderful part as a teacher in a rough environment. This is one of his best roles. I have seen him in comedy, I enjoyed him playing a more serious role. He don't take no **** out of no one in this film and that is great. The ending of this movie was really sad but it touched my heart. It inspired me to write a poem. I hope to see more movies with this poetic vibe soon. I truly loved it, I want to buy a copy!!

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Very exciting and gripping slice of reality

Author: catherine russell from United States
16 October 2005

Wow! So many aspects of the writing - not to mention the acting and directing - rang true.

Not that I've ever been to prison, but what struck me was that this is an intensely dramatic and gripping story, told with no "sensationalism". Yet, this film is more disturbing/real/hopeful - and sensational - than anything I've seen in this genre in a long time.

The main reason I wanted to see this film was the fact that D.L. Hughley was attempting a very scary thing: transitioning from comedic to dramatic actor. He did this quite brilliantly. He brought a depth to the role that would have been lacking in some of our better-known stars. Bravo to cast and production team!

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Author: Thanos Alfie from Greece
29 January 2014

"Shackles" is a movie that has to do with a man who accepts a job in a prison as a teacher. They offered him this job because he had many good ratings, and he accepted it because he wanted to prove that he can do it and because he really wanted this job.

I liked this movie because of the interpretation of the main character D.L. Hughley who plays as Ben Cross the teacher who inspires all of these prisoners to become something better and he helps them with everything that they need to know.

Finally I want to tell you that I also liked this movie because this teacher did not inspire only the prisoners but everyone who watch this movie.

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2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Once again

Author: blehblehbleh from Texas
6 February 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Fairly entertaining movie, but once again we find the white man portrayed as the bad man. I happen to know a lot of good people of every race, why this trend in movies today. The white prisoners character was hardly developed, he was just a scared boy who apparently ended up in prison over a minor incident (unless he was lying). It stretched the story to have HIM kill the teacher character in the end. It seemed to be added as an afterthought, like 'lets have the white boy kill him'

I'm not saying a white person wouldn't have done this, obviously there are good and bad and criminal people of every race. What I'm saying is its the norm nowdays to put down white people, the movie industry in general has become more than a little racist.

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