Review in Brief: Brawl in Cell Block 99 (2017)

Yep, it’s definitely an S Craig Zahler film. Much like his Western BONE TOMAHAWK, BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99 is intense, drip-feedy in its pacing and almost cartoonishly ultraviolent. Also like Tomahawk it seems to become an entirely different film in its final stretch, where things go bloody (and I mean bloody) bananas. Zahler has a distinctive voice, a inky black take on the world best summed up here when asked how he’s doing after being fired, Bradley replies “South of OK, north of cancer”. As Bradley, I get why Vince Vaughn is getting attention; the control he displays as a permanently coiled spring is impressive, and when he goes off you really believe the damage he can do to cars, arms, faces. Yes, the final act has him rock up at a maximum security prison which is castle torture chamber manned by Nazis (I smell a metaphor!) but overall, this is keen-edged stuff. SSP

About Sam Sewell-Peterson

I'm not paid to write about film - I do it because I love it. Favourites include Sam Mendes, Guillermo del Toro, Bong Joon-ho, Steven Spielberg, Danny Boyle, Edgar Wright, Taika Waititi and the Coen Brothers. All reviews and articles are original works owned by me. They represent one man's opinion, and I'm more than happy to engage in civilised debate if you disagree.
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