Hey gang, Valkor here. With a new year brings forth a batch of new films for me to wade through, and the pile I've accumulated offers up a nice mix of everything as opposed to mainly one genre – horror. This next film up on the block comes from Australia and the films I’ve reviewed from that area thus far have all been on point. So can Convict (directed by David Field and George Basha) keep up the positive flow?
Convict centers on a soldier named Ray (George Basha), who just returned from Afghanistan after a 12 year stint. He surprises his girlfriend Kelly (Millie Rose Heywood), who was simply relaxing in the park. And as the two are about to make their way home, a couple of dicks in a Ferrari make a pass at Kelly to the point of where things become confrontational. Ray isn't having any of their shenanigans and isn’t backing down (much to the objection of Kelly). A fight ensues and one of the two guys winds up dead. Ray is faced with extensive jail time, but he’s able to cop a plea for 18 months. The father of the young man that was killed – Harvey Thompson (David Roberts) – not only pays a guy to get some info on Ray (as a freebie, the guy gives him the name of the prison where Ray will be held), but he also pays the Warden of the prison (David Field) a substantial amount of money to make Ray’s life a living hell.
And that’s pretty much what he’ll go through – Hell, as Ray is put through the ringer! He'll not only have to face off against the the Warden and his men, but he’ll also get caught in the middle of a cultural clash between two opposing gangs AND he’ll have to protect his own ass from getting split – literally. Yea, Ray has to deal with a lot of conflict, but the big question is – can he survive his 18 month run and make it back to his girl or will he be forever trapped in this prison hellhole?
Watching Convict feels pretty familiar as it undergoes a mix between Shawshank Redemption (minus the narration) – Ray’s confrontation with the Warden and his crew, plus his befriending of an older inmate, and a slice of Con Air – Ray is a former soldier who gets jailed for accidently killing a guy who hits on his woman. That doesn’t mean Convict is a bad film, it’s actually quite good! The story is solid and well thought out as we follow Ray’s struggle to survive in a world manipulated by a Warden fueled by finance. The film mixes well the drama of Ray’s plight as well the conflict he faces plus a nice dose of action to keep things interesting. The pacing is on point as the film never drags, giving you enough on screen that you’ll never want to look away. The acting helps fuel the progression with George Basha’s Ray trying to keep out of trouble and David Field’s Warden making sure trouble finds him, but they both put on stellar performances. You can feel the tension between the two, which only increases towards the films climatic ending. A nod should also be tossed to Richard Green as David, the inmate Ray befriends; you gotta empathize with his guy who tries his best to keep his head down, yet he gets unwittingly thrown into Ray’s mess. Finally, PerfectView nod goes to Talitha Bosquet, who shows up at the end and stole my heart. I was enjoying Convict until the end… and then Talitha walked into my world and took my breath away. I need more Talitha in my life... Ahem. Anyway, Convict is deserving of all the accolades it gets and I’m showering it with tons because it’s that good.
Convict doesn’t have a US release (yet) and it’s still making the screening rounds, hopefully for a home release we’ll see it on this side of the pond either as a physical release or on the digital circuits, because it’s definitely worth checking out. The film is gritty, gripping and compelling with rock solid performances and well deserved of the 4.5 out of TOV 5 stars given.