BRaWl IN CEll BlOCk 99

Hard­core Vaughn…

Total Film - - Exclusive Film Offer - James Mot­tram

CER­TIFI­CATE TBc DI­REC­TOR s. craig Zahler STAR­RING vince vaughn, Jen­nifer car­pen­ter, Don John­son, Marc Blu­cas SCREEN­PLAY s. craig Zahler DIS­TRIB­U­TOR Uni­ver­sal RUN­NING TIME 132 mins

Hot off cult west­ern Bone Tom­a­hawk, wri­ter­di­rec­tor S. Craig Zahler hits the bulls­eye again with his sopho­more ef­fort. At its core is a pow­er­house per­for­mance from Vince Vaughn as Bradley Thomas, a drug-run­ning fam­ily man with more anger man­age­ment prob­lems than the Hulk. But he’s also fiercely loyal, even when a nar­cotics run goes wrong and he’s left fac­ing seven years in jail.

Once in­side, he’s put in a fur­ther bind: ei­ther he kills a fel­low pris­oner, or a doctor will mu­ti­late the un­born child grow­ing in­side Bradley’s kid­napped wife (Jen­nifer Car­pen­ter). Trou­ble is, the in­mate in ques­tion is in a sep­a­rate max­i­mum se­cu­rity jail – run by Don John­son’s cigar­illo-chew­ing war­den – and holed up in Cell Block 99, “the prison within the prison” where the real lowlifes re­side.

Tarantino, Peck­in­pah and Siegel-in­spired, Zahler sends Bradley on a Dante-like jour­ney through the Cir­cles of Hell – a hope­less and hor­ri­fy­ing des­cent. Full of skull-crunch­ing, arm-snap­ping, face-scrap­ing mo­ments, the vi­o­lence is cartoon-sick. But Vaughn, shaven bald to re­veal a huge cross tat­too, ut­terly con­vinces. Scored with stomp­ing soul (by Zahler and Jeff Her­riott), it elec­tri­fies.

THE VER­DICT

Aided by an as­tound­ing Vaughn, Zahler’s ul­tra-vi­o­lent genre mash-up is bloody ter­rific.

Vince Vaughn: a chameleonic ac­tor.

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