Saturday, 2 July 2011

Review - An Innocent Man (1989 - Dir. Peter Yates)

Time for some moustache porn. It is so luxurious. So thick, bushy and neatly trimmed. It has got to be a Tom Selleck film. Seeing that moustache in prison, what can possibly be wrong with this film?

Not much. Far, far better than it should be. The Moustache plays Jimmie Rainwood, a devoted husband who amazingly gets put in the slammer for a crime he didn’t commit. Okay, no points for originality but it works because he pretty much does what you think you would do in prison. Faced with a gang of rather large fellows who want to make you ‘their boy’, what would you do? Eventually, under the tutelage of Virgil Cane (F. Murray Abraham), he attempts to solve his problem and make his stay in prison a more pleasant affair. 

The Moustache is a fairly bland everyman but is backed up by some more colourful characters. Abraham is a scene-stealer and comes across as very charming with a ‘don’t mess unless you want painful shank death’ attitude. David Rasche as dirty cop Mike Parnell is a standard sweary 80s villain, but is fun to watch. M.C. Gainey as the con Malcom tries to compete with  our hero by having a long droopy moustache. Not even in the same league mate. You don’t mess with the best.

For a Moustache film it is surprising violent, with some scenes that are shocking for a film of its time. I always thought that prisons looked like really bad places to be from watching prison films like this. Then I read Green River Rising by Tim Willocks and thought that it was so excessively violent and unrealistic. Then I saw a programme on real prison riots. Ah. Not quite as violent as the real thing maybe. The only major downside is the typically 80s music by Howard Shaw (Lord of the Rings). Tinged with Gorgonzola in many scenes.
A real surprise that this is even half decent. Definitely one of my favourite prison films. Oh, The Moustache grows an even bigger moustache halfway through. If you’re not sold on the idea by now, I give up.

If you like this you could also try:
Runaway, Lock up, Fortress, Three Men and a Baby.

No comments:

Post a Comment