Writer: Ric Roman Waugh (Screenplay)
Starring: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Omari Hardwick, Lake Bell, Jon Bernthal, Emory Cohen, Jeffrey Donovan, Evan Jones
Plot: A newly released prisoner is forced by the leaders of his gang to orchestrate a major crime with a brutal rival gang on the streets of Southern California.
Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minute
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Crime 101
Story: Shot Caller starts when known gangster Money (Coster-Waldau) gets released from prison, returning to his gang with Frank (Bernthal) filling in the blanks of his time locked up, with Howie (Cohen) showing him around. Meanwhile Jacob a successful businessman gets involved in an accident which sees his best friend killed and him needing to take a plea to get a shorten prison sentence.
With Jacob being in prison, he builds up the reputation of a criminal, using his skills with money to gain the nickname becoming the big shot that everyone turns too, even though his parole officer Kutcher (Hardwick) is watching his every move once he is on the outside.
Thoughts on Shot Caller
Characters – Jacob was once a brilliant stockbroker until an accident leaves his best friend dead and him facing jail, he isn’t prepared for what he will be facing, until his skills become useful, he rising up the ranks of a gang becoming a man known as Money, who has respect and power, without the evil intentions behind the greed of the other gang members. Kutcher is the parole officer that has been dealing with the criminals, he knows how to get through the people, which unlike most sees him needing to take a stronger stand to get the best out of people. Kate is the wife that Jacob loses with his own mistake, she wants him to consider his options, knowing he is a good man inside, but doesn’t understand the man he has become. Frank is the man that takes Jacob into the criminal lifestyle, showing him the wrong path, which will only lead him to a world of darkness.
Performances – Nikolaj Coster-Waldau does give a strong performance in the leading role of the film, without being anything that we haven’t already seen in the crime world. Omari Hardwick does play an interesting character only we don’t get enough of his character. Lake Bell is the same, she doesn’t do anything wrong, only we could have seen more of her, this could well be the problem for most of the performance, not enough screen time for them.
Story – The story here follows a stockbroker who is involved in a fatefully accident which sees him put in jail, where he slowly starts to rise up the ranks of a gang, finding herself as part of the big war for power. This story is told in a strange order, which just doesn’t make it easy to enjoy, it follows every single typical idea of how somebody would rise up the ranks of a gang, even if they come from a life where they wouldn’t be anyway near beforehand. We don’t seem to get anything new to the ideas and by the end we know what to expect.
Crime – The crime side of this film focuses on how the world of crime and how somebody can climb the ranks by knowing how to play the system.
Settings – The film is mostly set in the prisons, showing how Jacob uses his imprisonment to get what he wants.
Scene of the Movie – Cage fight.
Final Thoughts –This is a by the book crime drama that focus on one man’s rise into the gang world after an accident puts his own life into ruins, it isn’t anything we haven’t seen before though.
Overall: By the Book.