Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Brutal “Shot Caller” is a Movie to Watch

The 2017 prison film, “Shot Caller,” is not like the old movies where Jimmy Cagney found himself in the big house, nor is it like the men-behind-bars exploitation flicks of the 1970s and ‘80s.

“Shot Caller” is a whole new, ultra-realistic look at the violent world behind the walls of American prisons.

Jacob, a successful businessman with a nice family, causes a deadly accident which lands him jail. He is put in with violent criminals and quickly learns the code of survival: Either become a victim at the mercy of the predators, or become a warrior. Jacob chooses the later and as if being sent to jail was not life-changing enough, needing to choose sides in the gang-run prison yard changes his entire being.

Affiliation with the gang not only means participating in drug smuggling, riots and murder, it also means a lifetime membership extending beyond the wire cages when Jacob is released.

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, an actor I have seen before in small roles, does a superb job as Jacob. His transformation from the hard-charging executive to the hard-bitten convict is quite a performance. Also excellent in the picture are Lake Bell, Jon Bernthal, Omari Hardwick, Emory Cohen and Benjamin Bratt. I could go on naming the players in this movie because everyone did a fine job, most portraying some of the most convincingly tough inmates seen on screen.

Ric Roman Waugh, who knows more than most about prison life, wrote and directed the movie.

“Shot Caller” is a tough, terrifying and terrific film.


  1. Elgin, cheers - another one for the list. I thought Nicolaj C-W was pretty good in Small Crimes and adaptation of a Dave Zertserman novel of the same name.

    1. I think this one is right up your alley, Col. I have not seen Small Crimes, but will look for it.