"Insights on Inmates"
What You Need To Know:
ANIMAL FACTORY goes over the line in terms of language, but is otherwise relatively restrained for an R-rated movie revealing the harsh realities of prison life. The movie’s thrust is to concentrate on the specific situations facing the characters. Although it makes a sympathetic character out of Earl, a hardened criminal who does bad things as well as good things, Earl doesn’t fully get away with his criminal behavior. In that way, it reminds one of old-fashioned prison dramas where the criminal friend of the hero must suffer the consequences for the bad things he does.
(PaPa, Ho, B, LLL, VVV, S, N, A, DD, M) Pagan worldview of trying to survive in prison, with references to homosexual activity in prison, including cross-dressing cellmate, & some moral elements; 149 mostly strong obscenities & 5 strong profanities, plus prisoners make jokes about & references to homosexual activity in prison; strong prison violence such as attempted homosexual rape, beatings, prison riot, prisoners shot dead during riot, three or four stabbings, prison official says would-be rapist was murdered while in hospital, & man cuts arm & smears himself with blood to pretend he’s gone crazy; implied homosexual activity in prison & attempted homosexual rape; upper & rear male nudity; illegal alcohol use in prison; smoking, drug abuse & drug deals in prison setting; and, revenge, rebellion & movie makes prison gang leader sympathetic character.
ANIMAL FACTORY could have played like a socialist indictment against the American prison system but instead comes across as an engrossing modern-day prison yarn. Although it is definitely an adult-oriented drama, it provides many insights into the harsh realities of prison life.
Based on a novel by a real ex-convict, the story focuses on 25-year-old Ron Decker, who’s placed into Eastern State Penitentiary for trafficking in drugs. Edward Furlong, the teenage boy in TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY, plays Ron, whose ignorance, good looks and vulnerability immediately arouse the worst instincts of his fellow convicts. Ron finds a friend, however, in the form of Earl Copen, the leader of the most powerful clique of white convicts at the prison. Earl helps Ron avoid a gang rape and coaches him through the intricacies of the prison’s job system.
Trouble surfaces, however, when Ron decides he wants to take revenge against another white prisoner, who tries to rape Ron in one scene. The movie builds suspense by keeping viewers wondering whether Earl can keep Ron from doing something that will add years to his sentence and whether Earl has some ulterior, hidden motive in helping Ron.
ANIMAL FACTORY goes over the line in terms of language, but is relatively restrained for an R-rated movie revealing the harsh realities of prison life. The movie’s basic thrust, however, is not to launch into some political diatribe like the movie THE CONTENDER. Rather, it concentrates on the specific situations and dilemmas facing the characters, especially Ron and Earl. Also, although the movie makes a sympathetic character out of Earl, a hardened criminal who does bad things as well as good things, Earl doesn’t fully get away with his criminal behavior at the end. In that way, it reminds one of some old-fashioned prison dramas where the criminal friend of the hero must suffer the consequences for the bad things he does.
Of course, the Christian view of prisons is that they are a necessary place in which to keep violent criminals. That doesn’t mean, however, that prisoners should get away with homosexual rape and murder of other prisoners. After all, rape and murder are crimes that receive the death penalty under the Mosaic laws in the Hebrew Scriptures. Numbers 35:31 indicates, however, that, unlike a murderer, a rapist may be able to pay a ransom, or a significant amount of money, to escape the death penalty. In any case, the prison authorities should certainly separate a prisoner who engages in homosexual rape from the other prisoners completely, perhaps in solitary confinement. Finally, although there is forgiveness and redemption in the blood of Jesus Christ, that doesn’t mean that the government shouldn’t force people who commit crimes, even Christians, to pay their just penalties under the law.