Shot Caller, is a compelling portrayal of what can happen to a life when poor decisions and bad luck amass. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Game of Thrones), certainly put his acting chops on display as focal character Jacob Harlon aka “Money”, a white-collar stockbroker turned prison gangster. The latter of which occurs following a tragic accident resulting in the death of a colleague.

Gripping & Well Presented

Don’t let the poor title of the film fool you, this is definitely not a B-movie. In my humble opinion, Shot Caller is probably one of the best movies that I’ve seen all year. Although it moved a bit slow in a few places, the story, direction, and superb performances from the cast kept me glued to the screen. This isn’t a run-of-the-mill prison drama that we’ve seen time and time again. In fact, there were quite a few twists and turns throughout that lead into such a great finish, it has me hoping for a sequel.

The story is told exceptionally well. Even with the constant transitioning between life in and out of prison, I never felt like they gave too much nor too little away. The scenes were so believable that at times it felt like I was watching a well written and thought-provoking documentary. Although primarily a one-sided depiction of life in prison, the narrative was very powerful. Similarly, to his GoT character, I found myself empathetic towards “Money” but at the same time befuddled by his actions. You’ll have to watch the film to understand as I don’t wish to give anything away.

Great Support

Jon Bernthal is an amazing actor and has been masterful in every role that he’s been given. Bernthal plays the ‘bad guy’ part well and gives a riveting performance every time he graces the screen. In this film, he plays fellow gang member “Shotgun” who finds himself at odds with, Money. The motivation appears to be jealousy though this is never really touched on in the film.

Jacob’s wife Kate, played by Lake Bell, also holds nothing back in her performance. Upon seeing Jacob’s participation in a prison riot and hearing him utter the words, “It’s over. Forget I exist,” you can feel the pain and horror from the expression on her face.

Omari Hardwick (Power), Holt McCallany (Gangster Squad), and Emori Cohen (Brooklyn) each provided a great supporting cast. 

 

Locking It Down

Who knew Jaime Lannister could pull off a handlebar ‘stache? I wholeheartedly endorse Shot Caller as a must-see for those who enjoy prison dramas. Not only that but for the folks who have yet to experience the range that Nikolaj brings beyond Westeros.  I await his next big leading role with great interest and anticipation.

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