Brawl in Cell Block 99London Film Festival 2017
11th October 2017 6.00pm at empire
12th October 2017 3.00pm at empire
13th October 2017 6.00pm at Prince Charles Cinema
Brawl in Cell Block 99 – or, as it should be titled, “Vince Vaughn versus the world” – appears to be a very direct and gory example of how far a man is prepared to go to protect his family. From loving husband to a brutal mass murdering machine, Vince Vaughn goes from strength to strength in an acting performance that vastly differs from those we have previously seen of him. The star from Wedding Crashers and Dodgeball has continued his drastic career U-turn in what is quite simply a monstrously brilliant performance as former boxer-turned-drug-trafficker Bradley Thompson, in S Craig Zahler’s newest picture.
We follow the journey of Thompson, a truck driver recently made redundant who turns to a life of crime. After a drugs bust leaves his organised plan in chaos, he finds himself locked in chains and headed to a medium security prison with a seven-year sentence. Happy to serve his time and get back to his family, Thompson soon sees his life take another turn when his wife Lauren (Jennifer Carpenter) and unborn child are taken hostage by a rival kingpin to whom he owes a debt. In order to save the lives of his wife and child, Thompson begins a brutal, blood-soaked journey into the darkest corners of the prison world and to Cell Block 99.
First things first, this film shows a side to Vince Vaughn we have never witnessed before. Brawl in Cell Block 99 sees the actor transform into a vicious killing machine, but one that maintains an incredibly strong moral compass. Through Vaughn’s performance it is evident that Bradley Thompson has been through immense trials in his life, but he has the ability to choose right from wrong and use his brute strength when he has to, not because he needs to. The movie wonderfully depicts the willing deterioration of a man who wants to do right by his family members and this is supported through Zahler’s Tarantino-esque direction. The filmmaker has inserted comedic elements into a dark and graphic picture, making this an easy and entertaining viewing for the audience.
The great thing about Brawl in Cell Block 99 is that rather than descending into a standard prison break picture, there is a greater moral lesson underlying the plot. The movie allows the audience to connect with the central characters before blowing their lives apart. A very violent film, Zahler eases the audience into the gore that ascends as the story progresses, offering the opportunity to bond with the characters on a realistic level. This being said, however, there will no doubt be screams from the audience once the bloodshed begins, with no holds barred as limbs begin to break in exhilarating fight scenes. It may be a bit too graphic for some, but isn’t that just how entertaining grime movies should be done!
Brawl in Cell Block 99 is released nationwide on 20th October 2017.
Read more reviews and interviews from our London Film Festival 2017 coverage here.
For further information about the festival visit the official BFI website here.
Watch the trailer for Brawl in Cell Block 99 here: