Monday, May 20, 2013

DVD Review: OFFENDER (2012)


Label: Revolver Group
Region Code: 1 NTSC

Duration: 98 Minutes
Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1 with Optional English Subtitles
Video: 16:9 Widescreem
Director: Ron Scalpello
Cast: Joe Cole, Kimberly Nixon, Sghaun Dooley, Tyson Oba, G. FrSH  

I do love a good British crime thriller and this was a fun watch, a tense, taught and hard boiled actioner that takes place inside the prison walls of an urban detention center. Joe Cole gives a quietly powerful performance as Tommy Nix, dripping with barely subdued rage punctuated by extreme moments of physical and bloody violence, at times I was reminded of Ryan Gosling in DRIVE (2011). 

Cole's Tommy Nix is a 20-something working class Londoner with a loving pregnant girlfriend, she's a probation officer with a child on the way. When it seems to a trio of parolees that she just might drop a dime to the authorities about a jewelry heist turned murderous during the London riots they preemptively put a beating on her, leaving her hospitalized, despondent and childless. Distraught and out of his mind with anger Tommy swears vengeance on the trio of street thugs played by English Frank, rapper G. FrSH and Tyson Oba. 

The trick is that the trio have been sent away to prison on another charge and Tommy see's no other choice, he must find a way inside the hornet's nest and reap his brutal brand of justice. To that end he uncharacteristically beats the snot outta a cop on the street and is thrown in prison alongside the roughies. It's a gritty, downer of a film, graphic and brutal, it certainly does not paint a kind picture of the criminal detention system with it's depiction of rampant corruption, this corruption is pointedly epitomized by Nash, a sleazy guard, played creepily well by Shaun Dooley (EDEN LAKE) who is about as corrupt as you can get, I was a bit surprised he wasn't buggering the inmates as well. 

The film features a great young cast, Cole particularly deserves notice as a man on fire possessed by revenge at all costs, it's great stuff. It's a stylish film with a great urban score, don't be fooled by the truly awful DVD art, this is a decent prison thriller from the UK, and a great debut film from Ron Scalpello. If you enjoy violent British crime thrillers OFFENDER should be on your Netflix que, where it's currently streaming. 3.5 Outta 5