Owen Gleiberman
October 27, 2000 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Animal Factory

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
94 minutes
performer
Steve Buscemi, Willem Dafoe, Edward Furlong, Mickey Rourke
director
Steve Buscemi
author
Edward Bunker
genre
Drama

We gave it an A-

Steve Buscemi, with his wry and jabby hostility, is such a vivid actor that few people seem to realize he’s becoming a major filmmaker as well. In Animal Factory, the finely tuned prison drama that’s his second feature (after ”Trees Lounge”), Buscemi displays a pinpoint humanity, reminiscent of Jonathan Demme, that lays bare the inner turmoil of everyone on screen.

Ron Decker (Edward Furlong), a soft faced 21 year old, doesn’t belong in prison, but there he is — convicted on a marijuana charge, tossed in with men who could eat him alive. Fortunately, he wins the attentions of Earl (Willem Dafoe), a veteran con who has mastered the Machiavellian intricacies of prison society.

Dafoe makes Earl a tough nut sociopath with an oxymoronic streak of restraint. He refuses to turn Ron into his ”punk,” and the film pivots around this enigmatic grace note of civility in hell. Oddball cameo of the year: Mickey Rourke as a pumped up drag queen who’s like Blanche DuBois crossed with Elmer Fudd.

You May Like

Comments

EDIT POST