(US - 2017)
Written and directed by S. Craig Zahler. Cast: Vince Vaughn, Jennifer Carpenter, Don Johnson, Udo Kier, Marc Blucas, Mustafa Shakir, Thomas Guiry, Dion Mucciacito, Geno Segers, Willie C. Carpenter, Fred Melamed, Clark Johnson, Pooja Kumar, Victor Almanzar, Calvin Dutton, Michael Medeiros, Devon Windsor, Tobee Paik, Rob Morgan, Philip Ettinger. (Unrated, 132 mins)
With 2015's horror-western hybrid BONE TOMAHAWK, novelist/musician/jack-of-all-trades S. Craig Zahler immediately established himself as a filmmaker worth watching. The best description being "THE SEARCHERS if remade by Ruggero Deodato," BONE TOMAHAWK was an instant cult classic that was deserving of the label. Influenced by everything from Hollywood classics to Italian splatter films to underground metal (his musical projects include singing and playing drums in a band called Realmbuilder, and playing drums in the black metal band Charnel Valley), Zahler tackles the prison genre with BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99, a hyperviolent and stunningly brutal revenge melodrama with the kind of wonderfully old-school title you'd expect to find on a mid '50s Allied Artists programmer. In a welcome departure from roles he's been coasting through for years and what the little-loved second season of TRUE DETECTIVE hinted at, Vince Vaughn is almost the spirit of Lee Marvin incarnate as Bradley--do not call him Brad--Thomas, a man with a dark past who's just trying to make an honest living and get by. Stoical and serious, and with a large cross tattooed on the back of his shaved head, Bradley and his wife Lauren (Jennifer Carpenter) are recovering alcoholics living in a small house in a crummy part of town. Bradley drives a wrecker for a local mechanic, but business is slow and he's let go. Arriving home, he finds Lauren about to take off for some afternoon delight with a man she's been seeing for the last three months. Bradley is not an abusive man but he reacts in the only way he can at that moment: by calmly and methodically tearing apart her car with his bare hands.