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Animal Factory - drama DVD review
ANIMAL FACTORY Rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 3 stars
Actors: Willem Dafoe, Edward Furlong, Danny Trejo, Tom Arnold
Director: Steve Buscemi   Studio: Sony Pictures
DVD release: 09 Jan. 2001   Runtime: 94 minutes (1 disc)
Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Widescreen, NTSC
DVD Features: Audio Tracks (English, Dolby Digital 5.1), Subtitles (English, Spanish)

Based on a novel by Edward Bunker (who also wrote the screenplay) and directed by Steve Buscemi (Con Air, Fargo, The Big Lebowski), Animal Factory stars Edward Furlong as Ron Decker, a troubled teen from a good home sent to prison on a marijuana charge. Once inside, Decker quickly makes friends with an older inmate named Earl Copen (Willem Dafoe). The story focuses on the father/son type of relationship between the two men as Copen does all he can to protect Decker from the rigors of prison life.

Though comparisons to other prison flicks like The Shawshank Redemption might be made, over-sentimentality and a plodding pace take this one out of the upper echelon of great prison-themed movies. Buscemi has clearly demonstrated his talent for capturing beautiful images on film with movies like Trees Lounge and his work on The Sopranos. But the strain on credulity knocks the narrative off kilter, making for an enjoyable but disjointed movie. However, great cameos by Tom Arnold (Buck Rowan) and Mickey Rourke as the transvestite Jan the Actress put a little starch into this movie's pants. With an edgy musical score and cinematography delivering the requisite sense of bleak isolation Animal Factory is an intense drama worth viewing.
reviewed by Bobby Blades
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