Movie, Reviews

“Shot Caller” a Gutsy Crime Flick

Hard-hitting and brutal, the movie Shot Caller shows how far a man will go to make it in prison and come out alive. Filmed with a passionate desire to show the danger, violence, torture and ruthlessness, Director Ric Roman Waugh hits the film on all four cylinders. If you like a gut-wrenching movie with realistic performances, then do not miss Shot Caller.

A bitter and delusional Jacob Harlon (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) finds himself leaving prison after a long stretch for man slaughter. His time in prison has honed him into a killer, gang member and servant of The Beast (Holt McCallany). He hasn’t forgotten his wife Kate (Lake Bell) who was his whole world before the error that got him incarcerated, but for the time being she’s not on his radar to rekindle what he lost.

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jacob in SHOT CALLER

Following his release Jacob goes to gang members he met in prison who have served their terms and give a party welcoming him back. During the party the group gets attacked setting off a chain of events that will lead Jacob back to Prison, but not for the expected reason.

Director and writer of Shot Caller, Ric Roman Waugh makes his film gutsy and raw as he moves his characters in and out of the violent film. He transforms Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jacob from a successful businessman into a brutal prison inmate ready to slash and stab on command. Altering his original above average physique into a bulked up muscular killer covered in ominous tattoos, we see the alternate side of the man who once was a loving husband. Certainly evil looking and frightening, his character evolves even more upon his release.

Prison yard erupts in SHOT CALLER

Working his character Jacob into a corner trying to make good on his promises made to The Beast, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau creates a convincingly vicious ex-con. Disconnecting himself from his wife and son so they will not be harmed, he becomes reckless on his quest to fulfill promise he made to The Beast. If you are a fan of “Game of Thrones” you’ll recognize Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jamie Lannister from 2011 to 2017.

Director Ric Roman Waugh setting the prison yard fight scene in SHOT CALLER

The film also has a very good performance by Lake Bell as the wife of Jacob. She’s stunned by the incident that put her husband in jail and cannot deal with him not being there for his son. Bell shows both sides of the woman as a loving wife and a crushed woman that can’t come to grips with what her husband has turned into. Her performance in the movie No Escape in 2015 is one of her best ever, but there’s still a lot of spunk left in her as you’ll see in Shot Caller.

Shot Caller has been rated R by the MPAA for strong bloody violence, pervasive language, some drug use and brief nudity. The depiction of the prison scenes and the yard fights can be extremely disturbing to the meek and timid.

FINAL ANALYSIS: A very good movie with very good acting and direction.

Additional Film Information:
Cast: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Benjamin Bratt, Lake Bell, Omari Hardwick, Jon Bernthal, Emory Cohen, Jeffrey Donovan, Evan Jones, and Holt McCallany
Directed and written by: Ric Roman Waugh

Genre: Crime, Thriller, Drama
MPAA Rating: R for strong bloody violence, pervasive language, some drug use and brief nudity. There’s also a scene of sex?
Running Time: 2 hrs. 1 min.
Release Date: August 18, 2017
Distributed by: Participant Media

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Film Editor John Delia has been on all sides of the movie business from publications to film making. He has worked as a film critic with ACED Magazine for more than 12 years and earned a Bachelors degree in communications from the University of Florida. John is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association. Follow John on Twitter @staragent1 or send John a message at jdelia@acedmagazine.com