Shot Caller (2017) Poster


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Wow, why have I not heard of this film or seen any trailers?!
TheTopDawgCritic25 July 2017
I am blown away after watching this masterpiece after hearing a friend talk so highly of it. I asked them what it was about, and they said "just go watch it". Well, every now and then a film comes along that will leave an impact on you that will make it hard for you to forget. This film is one of those.

This story was told with such realism, even the actors did not seem like they were acting. At first I was hesitant when I saw that Nikolaj Coaster-Waldau - Jaime Lannister from Game of Thrones was cast, but wow did he nail his role. His transition from a white collar to jailed convict was perfect. Even Jon Bernthal's acting was great. For that matter, every character was cast perfectly and were very convincing in their roles.

The writing and screenplay is what truly made this film so great. It's a story told really well, transitioning back and forth at just the right time from back-story to current time, although I wish it had opened with the white-collar scene first, then how it led into the incarceration, and then additional back stories filled in. Had the transitioning not happened, it would have been the best documentary-type film I've ever seen, and felt even more realistic. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed the way the story was told as well as the unpredictability and surprise twists. By the end, I was left wanting more!

Stunt-man turned writer/director (also both for this film) Ric Roman Waugh did an outstanding job converting the screenplay to a very convincing on-screen masterpiece.

The cinematography and editing were perfect, but the score could have been a little better.

I hope that based on the ending, there is at least a part 2 that comes out very soon. It's a well deserved 9.5 rounded up to a 10/10 from me. So now, just go watch it!
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How your life can turned upside down
the_russ_show30 June 2018
Wow. I was wondering which good movie could be made out of a similar life situation and this movie is awesomely good!

I'm angry and happy. Life can be tough if you decide to be a warrior. You make choices that can change it all just so you get in peace with yourself.
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thoroughly enjoyable
xsagaroth25 July 2017
Strongly recommend watching this, very strong performances from all of the cast. Good score, solid cinematography and a story line that got me hooked from the start and one that I don't doubt for a second has happened numerous times around the world.

Will watch again (because that's what i do when i like a film).
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Pleasantly surprised.
MrSelfPaid11 August 2017
It has been a long time since I wrote a review but this movie deserves my time and attention. I definitely did not expect this movie to touch me in the way that it did.

The Pros:- -It is so well edited that I had to recheck the run time of the movie when it ended. Two hours flew past like the wind.

-The acting is great.

-The plot will reel you in and never let go. This is simple story telling at it's best.

-The dialogue will never feel boring and the prison scenes are shot in a way that will leave you in awe.

-The score is one of the best I've heard in recent memory. Reminds me of Sicario, another great film. Some people said it could have been better but I disagree. The score had me wishing I can write music that good for movies. It had a certain twist to it, sounds of flutes or sounds of Arabian music undertones.

  • The directing? All hail Ric Roman Waugh. I'm going to search for some of his other movies. If half are as half as good as half of this film, I might pass out with glee.

The Cons: There are non I can think of. I wrote this review a few days after seeing the film so that I can write a honest review absent attachment to the film.

Go see it.
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Bad title, excellent movie
BongoJustice26 July 2017
The title is the only thing that's not quite there with this movie - it suggests a sort of b-grade thriller. But what this movie actually delivers is a taut, razor-sharp story about how someone's life can go horribly wrong.

This is the only thing I've seen NCW in apart from Game Of Thrones and I was blown away by his range - he's in full-on acting mode here, entirely believable, and hard as nails.

One of the best movies of 2017.
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Greatest Movie of 2017
lmlmacedo3 September 2017
After seeing this movie for the first time this Friday, I immediately felt compelled to watch it a second time in a more thorough way (which I did the next day). The movie is so well structured, with perfect dialog, great cast (perfectly suited for their roles), outstanding tempo and content density, excellent cinematography and an amazing performance from Nikolaj Coaster-Waldau, that I feel forced to claim this is the best movie of this year. Really Oscar award material. The IMDb rate so far is completely understated (7.4 at the time I write this review). A MUST WATCH.
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Best movie I've seen all year
godpile14 July 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Intrigued by the trailer, I was expecting, as usually, to be let down by the actual movie. Didn't happen.

I really liked it's non-linear progression, which managed to not be annoying and made sense. But didn't give the whole game away either.

The pace was engaging - not too fast to where it's just bash-bang- boom and no time to pull you along on the journey and not so slow that you're staring at characters .

Also, a big question in the movie is the main guy's motivation for his actions - various characters wonder and ask him directly. While typically the reveal would form a big emotional piece of the plot or would do a 4 second cutaway to a simple explanatory scene, the makers of this movie managed to resist the easy answer and instead left us guessing as well. Thus, making the guy seem even more of a mystery and making the mystery of his motivations itself a theme.

Even the relationship with his son - an unavoidable theme - was surprising and seemed fresh.

It was also interesting to see the idea of how a good guy turns bad and enters the underworld in such a compelling way - the wannabe psychologist attraction.
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Actually really good
mrigor26 July 2017
The movie is really good i expected it to be boring, to get lost in the story quick etc. but it keeps you pumped.Directing is good,actors are great.At some parts i did lose focus and couldn't tell who is who, but i managed to figure it out.Plot twist is great, something you wouldn't expect.I would definitely recommend this movie!
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A must watch for crime/prison movie lovers..
vmatheboss26 July 2017
I normally don't have time to review or even let alone use IMDb, but this is definitely one of my favorite movies out for 2017 and I HAD TO REVIEW THIS hoping more movies like this comes along. I haven't had any films which kept me interested throughout the entire movie like this in a long time. If you are into movies which brings the feelings of how it would feel like to be in prison and to be in dept of "prison politics", this movie is a must watch. The main character "Jacob" played his role very well, from a business man to a full blown convict. It might looks crazy, but there are people out there who are really living that lifestyle. I was surprised there were so many familiar faces in this movie I'm sure viewers will recognize, they all pretty much fit into their roles.

Over all I would recommend this to everyone looking for that prison experience film. The details with how prison life is so detailed and correct. Everything from the dorm rooms to prison gangs and politics. The only other one like this was a movie called "Felon" back in 2008 (but this movie Shot Caller has more action) I was hoping for another one just like it, and this one satisfies me until something similar and better comes along in the near future!
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Heavy. Intriguing. Surprising. Worth watching
Hexecutioner26 July 2017
Unexpectedly, this is one of the better films released this year and is definitely worth watching.

Albeit the story-line seems rather dull and predictable at first, I assure you that past the 20min mark you'll be on edge and glued to the screen right to the end.

Some of the acting could have been much better considering the actors caliber but the story-line makes up for the shortfall.

Without spoiling it for you, it will take balls to watch this film to the harsh, brutal and twisted end. Definitely not for the faint of heart.

Would love to see a second installment.
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I agree with the other reviewer
DoNotTrustImdb25 July 2017
Best film of 2017 so far! Great story, acted superbly and hard as nails story wise. If you like a great crime prison film look no further.

Not going to ramble on just watch the film if you like a solid prison crime film.

10 out of 10 for me, hands down best film of 2017 so far, hope I have typed enough text to get this review posted.

10 out of 10!
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Very Good Drama/Suspense/Prison Movie
destinylives5228 August 2017
Warning: Spoilers
"Shot Caller" is a tense, mostly terrifying story of a high ranking, prison gang member (played by Nikolaj Coaster-Waldau) out on parole. On orders from his boss to spearhead a major score of illegal guns, Waldau has no choice but to see it through. To refuse would mean his execution, as well as his family's. Omari Hardwick plays a cop who is also Waldau's parole officer. Somehow, Hardwick is tipped off to the illegal guns; and he puts Waldau on surveillance, gleaning as much information as he can in order to prevent hundreds of fully automatic rifles going out into the streets. Two men on opposite sides of the law, and only one winner will emerge.

"Shot Caller" is told from two timelines: the present, and the past which reveals how Waldau became the ruthless gangster that he is. It is the past timeline that is the most gripping, showing us a drastically different man who made a mistake that led to a devastating, downward spiral of his life. But years in prison has not fully transformed Waldau…carefully hidden deep within the monster, there is a bit of humanity left.

My most memorable, movie moment of "Shot Caller" is the scene when Waldau butchers a fellow gangster in the man's home. No fancy choreography, just someone getting stabbed multiple times until his life ends.

"Shot Caller" would have received a higher grade but for the shenanigans near the end of the movie. **SPOILER ALERT**Waldau hides a weapon in his anus, and from the time he is captured to the time he is sent back to his old prison, the weapon is still there? No law enforcement personnel ever looked up his butt to see if there were anything hidden there? Also, when Waldau attacked his boss because Waldau's family were threatened with execution, how does Waldau know that the hit wasn't already in place? These are big shenanigans, but the rest of the movie is so good that they didn't damage the movie much. For those who enjoy a good drama/suspense/prison movie, this one is definitely for you.

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A certain must watch - great story line with great characters
archeeye27 July 2017
I never review movies but I just could not miss on an opportunity to recommend this movie to people out there. Certainly one of this years' best movies. Very well told story and the main character. Deep and emotionally quite heavy movie but with quite a lot of action. Ending is so great as well which perfectly sums up Jacobs character and the things and sacrifices you are willing to do for others.
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one man show a.k.a Nikolaj "the man"
Gomesd8920 August 2017
i don't think i can really express how good this film is in words, but ill do my best...

Its about more than just a man screwed by life, it about loyalty and family, and where you will ever go to protect those you love.

I must say, this one is on my top 3 of the year. Brutal and deep film that touches you.
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My first review
djfrostvr416 September 2017
One of the best movies I have watched in 2017, just go watch it, seriously.

The pace is perfect, keeps you intrigued and you honestly have no idea what is going to happen to the guy until the very last.

Wow, what a flick!
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Finally something worth watching
avraham_tal25 July 2017
Warning: Spoilers
As a matter of fact, I find it hard to watch movies lately. They all seem so commonplace... But this one really kept me going.

Although the ideas are not new, they are brilliantly brought by excellent dialogues, directing and acting.

A male's true role in a common family (wait till you are 50 with grown children to understand) is also depicted here with an interesting angle.

I hate blowing my own horn, but even the plot got me surprised here and there which is not very common.

Not for youngsters, but don't miss it.
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Good, but could have been Great (minor spoiler)
arildoaim28 July 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I, like the fans of the streetwise and realistic style of the likes of David Ayer will applaud this movie. It can somewhat be seen as a spiritual prequel to the directors former great movie Felon (2008). This movie is just as good, and even feels like an epic at times. If the movie was set in the 17 century or the roman empire, many of the same themes would apply. I don't need to praise it more, others have already commented the superb cinematography and acting.

While movie is good, it is sadly not flawless. The motivations of main character seems at times unreasonable. The screenplay should established a stronger motivation from the start. Why choose the impending life sentence over 18 months, if your main goal is your family well being? The dangers of not being in a gang should be more explictly adressed. It almost seems like he have a choice in the beginning, and could have been fine on his own. He wasn't particularly "unlucky" either, resulting in inevitable gang membership. And as a result of the unclear motivation, the plot then seems less tight. With some minor tweaks this would have been fixed. For all i know, i might been trimmed away in the editing room.
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Incredible Acting Alone
feelinsicc25 July 2017
I thoroughly enjoyed this film.

Superb acting.


Wonderful score, although I could see how some may find the music overwhelming- however, it's beautiful enough to take a primary role.

Actors you will recognize- always interesting.

If you enjoy placing yourself in someone's shoes who must make rational and logical decisions based on the circumstances of the story, you will love this film- but only if you're prepared to think with the edge that may be necessary to survive in those shoes.

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Far Fetched ?
ianmerryweather26 July 2017
Warning: Spoilers
So someone jumps a red light accidentally and causes a fatality. OK Is sentenced to 16 months after some plea bargaining. OK

But then ends up in a very violent maximum security prison and ends up joining a gang and committing murders on behalf of that gang ???

Sorry but that's where the story line just got a bit to much for me. If you can suspend reality for a moment maybe you can enjoy this film like some of the other reviewers but the basic concept spoiled it for me.

Maybe if the character was a misguided criminal or something it would have been more believable.
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best movie i have seen in awhile.
iamrioto19 July 2018
Warning: Spoilers
When we have the time my wife and i watch movies together. The thing is we don't have much time since the birth of our 4 month old son. So when we watch a movie, it better be good. My wife had no interest in watching shot caller so i decided to watch it on my own. I was an hour in and my wife comes downstairs and catches a few scene's and guess what... ''this looks good'' damn right it looks good! Normally i would have finished the movie but i loved everything about shot caller that i had no problems with rewatching this movie.

so shotcaller,

I loved it. The story, characters, actors, setting and music were top notch. It was very interesting and emotional to how Money turned from an upperclass working guy to the guy with the keys. His choice to join the AB was the worst choice he could have made. Every action he took was to protect his family yet every action drove him further away from them until there was no turning back. Imagine how that must feel, you love your wife and kid and you are forced to do horrible things to keep them save, but if you do, you will never see them again, dude that goes right into the feels. I'm a dad myself and i can't imagine how much pain and suffering money feels inside. The scene where he has to kill a ab snitch was powerful, he didn't want to do it but had no choice. After he killed the guy he knew it was over, goodbye life, the music and acting was so good it's insane.

I loved it so much i could write out every scene but i guess you got the point. shot caller is great!
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A great movie to watch.
kevolig6 August 2017
Warning: Spoilers
when I first saw the trailer for this movie it didn't look bad, but I can assure this one of the best movies you'll ever watch not a single second of this movie is boring the actors are great the story is well told and the script is overall well written. This is the first prison movie that I actually liked, the story of how a man becomes a criminal not because he's bad but he's forced to by the society is just great, it also shows us why prison doesn't work in real time. I recommend everyone to watch this movie. The Lannisters send their regard :D
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A Lannister always pays its debts
dherrslag17 September 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Nikolaj Coaster-Waldau.. nothing more to say. Great story, loved these 2 hours, worth every minute. Sad end, when you see him starring to the picture at his son. So few seconds but it summits the whole plot and the main purpose. Great!

This movie deserves recognition, spread it!
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Dark, gruesome, surprisingly good movie
steve-downerhouse19 May 2018
I had no expectations when I saw this. Had never heard of it before, seen any reviews or any trailers.

But what a great movie. Very original, fantastic acting, thoroughly enjoyable.

Highly recommended.
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Very entertaining
walshj-0146817 June 2018
Great movie, makes you wonder how you would react in the same situation. In any case, you will get drawn in and love this one. 9/10
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Brutally Bleak and Very Raw, Shot Caller Delivers With a Standout Performance From Nikolaj Coaster-Waldau
CANpatbuck36641 August 2017
Warning: Spoilers
*Minor Spoilers Ahead* Shot Caller flashes back and forth in time and we join Jacob (Nikolaj Coaster-Waldau) as he's being released from a maximum security prison. He's not very excited but he's treated well and is escorted around by Frank aka Shotgun (Jon Bernthal) who's a fellow gang member that Jacob knew back in jail. Jacob has been tasked by The Beast (Holt McCalllany) to set up an arms deal. You don't refuse the head of the crew and Jacob is caught between a rock and a hard place.

We then go 10 years back and we meet the pre-prison Jacob. He's involved in finance and he has a beautiful wife Kate (Lake Bell) and a son. One night he goes out to dinner with a couple of friends and he has a couple of drinks. When he's driving them home, he gets distracted and runs a red light. They get hit and the one of the passengers gets killed.

This movie is a dark character piece. It's about Jacob's journey from clean-cut family man to a hard and violent gang member that shouldn't be crossed. This kind of movie has been done before but Shot Caller does an excellent job of getting you to feel for Jacob but at the same time being shocked by his actions. In this context, you understand why he did what he did but the depth of his transformation is shocking yet intriguing. The ending of the movie goes in an unexpected direction that is kind of take it or leave it but its about the journey and that's the most important part of Shot Caller. It's worth noting that Jacob has to join a white supremacist gang and the movie doesn't really comment on their policies. I don't agree with those policies but the movie is about Jacob and not this gang. If you want a movie that takes a hard look at the white supremacist movement, check out Imperium.

The biggest reason you should check this out is the awesome acting by the cast. This is an amazing acting job by Coaster-Waldau, he's great on Game of Thrones but he hasn't had the same kind of mainstream success outside of it. He completely pulls off this difficult role and it's one of the best acting jobs I've seen this year. I really like Jon Bernthal as an actor, he's good in this but I was wondering why he thought this project was for him? He's almost too high profile for this. Omari Hardwick was decent as Kutcher, the parole officer. I wish Lake Bell was in this movie more but she really threw her all into this. She has some very emotional scenes. Jeffery Donovan and Holt McCallany make for intimidating villains as Bottles and the Beast respectively.

The only negative thing I have to say about Shot Caller is that as the story went along, the plausibility of Jacob's actions became more and more outlandish. It's a stretch that he'd even be thrown in this facility but I let that go because the movie explained it. The farther Jacob is indoctrinated into the gang, the more violent and explicit his actions become. That's the point of the story, how he loses his humanity through this experience but I just didn't buy the extent to which he devolves. It didn't completely ruin the movie but it did damper my enjoyment a little.

It's too bad that this movie hasn't gotten more attention. This is a good character piece on top of a solid prison drama and this is easily Waldau's best work outside of Game of Thrones. He works so well in this that to me it's award worthy. Shot Caller isn't boldly new but it absolutely achieved what it wants to and although it sidesteps some of the issues, it still hits hard. I'd absolutely recommend this to anyone who's interested in it.
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