Parole officer Jack Mabry (Robert De Niro) has only a few weeks left before retirement and wishes to finish out the cases he's been assigned. One such case is that of Gerald "Stone" Creeson (Edward Norton), a convicted arsonist who is up for parole. Jack is initially reluctant to indulge Stone in the coarse banter he wishes to pursue and feels little sympathy for the prisoner's pleads for an early release. Seeing little hope in convincing Jack himself, Stone arranges for his wife Lucetta (Milla Jovovich) to seduce the officer, but motives and intentions steadily blur amidst the passions and buried secrets of the corrupted players in this deadly game of deception. Written by
The Massie Twins
The prison scenes were filmed at the State Prison of Southern Michigan. At one time this was the world's largest walled prison. Since its closure the site has become a popular filming venue, having also served as the prison location for Tony Goldwyn's Conviction (2010). See more »
When reading the ratings and reviews of this film I believe that some viewers went in expecting something different. I can fully understand that it wasn't for everyone. The film surprised me as to how non typical it was in its plotting but it was the best character study in a long time.
Jack(Deniro) is about to retire but requests that he can finish his final convicts paroles. Stone(Norton) is one of those convicts. Stone starts as a character who wants out of prison but not for the reasons a parole officer would want. The plot is seemingly straight forward in its setup. Mila Jovavich gives a wonderful performance, most notably because the audience is never really clear on which direction she is taking in her motivation. Its not a trait to make her more of a suspenseful character, its to show how one dimensional her relationship really is with Stone.
The essential plot setup is Jovavich and Stone decide on a plan to seduce Jack so that the parole is a must. The problem is that once this starts, Stone begins to experience change. As does Jack. I will not go into it much more. The film relies on the characters emotions rather than intense cat and mouse games. The film sets the audience to follow the "good guy" (Deniro) but it challenges the audience later to decide really who to trust.
The most interesting aspect is that Jack is content when listening to Stone's problems but when Stone begins to change, Jack is not alright with it. The years of holding back his darkness cannot stay contained when he is not judging others.
The film is definitely one to be analyzed. This could be why the reception is severely mixed. It had a profound effect on emotion. No specific type except dread and in some cases, familiar motives.
The film cannot be reviewed without a depth of character discussion, so in this case check the film out. Just do not expect typical suspense thrillers Hollywood has given. Ignore the rating until you view it yourself. And if nothing seems to get your interest, just expect great performances for Deniro, Jovavich, and Norton.
73 of 106 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?