Prison films are nothing new in cinema, but with each new film the bar has to be raised a bit in order to truly get the audience’s attention. This means that the action has to be grittier, the subject matter a little harder to watch, and the situations that much more brutal. Shot Caller doesn’t really stretch the boundaries as far as violence is concerned, but it does manage to increase the gravity of the situation by showing how a privileged man can become little more than a hardened criminal by simply trying to survive.
Here are a few things you might want to consider before watching Shot Caller.
5. The film will cut back and forth between the present and the past.
When the film begins the main character, Jacob, is getting out of prison. He eventually enters into a gun-running scheme that will land him in more trouble and even endanger his family. During the movie however the audience will be taken back in time to see the incident that caused him to become incarcerated. The time jumps will continue throughout the film as it is shown how Jacob became the hardened man that he now is, and why he is still on the path of self-destruction.
4. Getting sent to prison for an accident is not entirely believable.
It’s entirely believable to be arrested and charged, but going to prison depends largely on the prosecutor and the strength of your case. It’s far more likely that a person would have their license revoked, be given a punishment severe enough to make their life miserable for some time, and be forced to pay out enormous fines. But prison is something that would only be likely if the prosecutor simply did not believe their story and wished to pursue their case to the maximum that the law allows. It is possible, just not entirely believable.
3. Prison life is typically a matter of survival.
Most people would agree that prison is the last place you want to be. But those same people would agree that while incarcerated it’s best to avoid gangs, focus on positive activities, and show as much respect as is possible your fellow inmates. If they happen to target you for any reason then survival becomes even more difficult as many have found that joining gangs becomes preferable to being a target for anyone that simply doesn’t like them. It’s akin to walking through a snake pit in bare feet and shorts, eventually you’re going to get bitten. The gangs can act as your protection, but they can also be the worst option available.
2. Becoming a hardened con in ten years’ time is possible.
A daily struggle to survive, no rest because you have to watch your back, and the knowledge that at any moment someone with an issue, even if it’s your fellow gang member, could shank you in the back. Ten years is a long time to be on guard and it’s no wonder that some men get institutionalized very quickly in response.
1. Racism is a very real thing in prison.
Racism is prevalent in all parts of the legal system depending on who you ask. In prison the movies like to depict the gangs of different color going at one another like wild dogs, and many police officers won’t deny that this does happen. There is often no other form of provocation other than one gang deciding to have an issue with another over something fairly simple. Racism is alive in the prison system and doesn’t appear to be going anywhere.
Shot Caller is bound to be a hard, gritty movie about a man that has to make a choice between being a father and a family man or an ex-con with everything to lose.