Animal Factory


Crime / Drama

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 82%
IMDb Rating 6.6 10 11,801


Downloaded 81,911 times
April 6, 2019



Edward Furlong as Nick Kelson
Mickey Rourke as Sheriff
Steve Buscemi as Broadway Bob D'Annunzio
Willem Dafoe as Hateful Guard
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
686.15 MB
23.976 fps
94 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.43 GB
23.976 fps
94 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Mark Turner 7 / 10 / 10

Grim Reality

Prison movies have been around for some time. THE BIG HOUSE in 1930 is a perfect example of how far back. But most movies glossed over the ins and outs of prison, focusing on those trying to escape of the camaraderie found among cell mates. But that isn't reality. It wasn't until films made in the 70s began talking about the cold hard facts of prison life including rape, drugs and murder. When ANIMAL FACTORY came out in 2000 it received high praise from critics as well as those who saw it. But those numbers were small and the film fell into that void of movies you may have heard of but were completely forgotten. With this new Arrow Video release the chance to see it in the best format possible has arrived. The centerpiece of the story is Ron Decker (Edward Furlong), a young man arrested for dealing pot and who is to be made an example of. Sentenced to hard time in one of the worst prisons possible the odds of his surviving unscathed on his own are slim. Fortunately he's taken under the wing of Earl Copen (Willem Dafoe), a long time prisoner who knows how things work and is willing to protect him. Rather than what most would expect here, someone offering protection in exchange for things like sexual favors, Copen becomes a father figure to Decker. He's seen what can happen to a young man here and you get the sense that he wants to atone for past deeds by making sure this man has the opportunity to get out and live his life the way he should. The film focuses on how the prison works more than anything. While overseen by the warden and the guards it is the prisoners who do most of the work here. We're not talking making license plates of doing laundry but things like fill out reports for the guards, typing up parole requests and more. The guards may oversee them and break them up when a fight begins but for the most part the prisoners run the books. With that in mind Copen is able to land Decker various jobs in the prison that offer him a chance at easy labor. He takes him into the crew that he's assembles, one that no one messes with and that can get things accomplished behind the confinement walls. Problems might erupt, violence might occur but Copen and his gang avoid that as much as possible. As Decker's opportunity for parole gets closer Copen instructs him on how to stay clear of problems that might prevent that from happening. When inmate Buck Rowan (Tom Arnold) attempts to rape him, Ron loses sight of the big picture and sets out to kill him. Unsuccessful in his attempt it ruins his chance of parole and earns him 5 more years in prison. Still wishing a better life for the youngster Copen begins looking for a way to escape. His involvement in the Rowan affair could also lead to his being moved to another prison where he would have to start all over again. The time for escape is now and they begin to find a way to make it happen. Actor Steve Buscemi has a small role here on screen but a major one behind the camera as he directed the film. While not the most graphic and hard hitting of prison films life there is depicted well enough to instill fear in anyone who thinks they could do easy time. This is a difficult world to travel in and one not to be taken lightly. It is a violent world where the odds of a guard being there at the right time to prevent something bad happening are slim to none. Dafoe is one of the great actors today. His portrayal of Copen shows that a performance is as much about subtle nuance as it is about speaking the written word. You get the impression by his movements and actions that he has a genuine concern for this young man as opposed to trying to find someone to be his slave. The weakest part of the film is Furlong. I've never been a fan and his record shows that his abilities are not up to par with those around him. He arrived with a splash in TERMINATOR 2 and from there never made anything worthy of mention or recognition. Here he does little to increase my admiration for him allowing the rest of the cast to carry the film. What's more interesting about the film that you learn from the extras is that it is based on the book of the same name written by Edward Bunker, an ex-con and criminal who left behind a life of crime to become a novelist, screenwriter and actor. Most will remember him as Mr. Blue in Quentin Tarantino's RESERVOIR DOGS. He has a small role here as one of the prisoners. Arrow Video is releasing the film with a great digital transfer and extras enough to keep your interest. Those include an interview with Barry Forshaw discussing Eddie Bunker's varied career, an audio commentary track with novelist/co-writer/actor Bunker and co-producer/actor Danny Trejo (who also stars in the film), a theatrical trailer, reversible sleeve with newly commissioned artwork by Jacob Phillips and for the first pressing only a collector's booklet containing new writing on the film by Glenn Kenny. Once again Arrow Video shows why they're becoming one of the best companies around for films like these.

Reviewed by gavin6942 7 / 10 / 10

Before Prison Break...

A young man (Edward Furlong) goes to prison and a tough, older convict (Willem Dafoe) takes him under his wing as a mentor. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Eddie Bunker, who plays the part of Buzzard in the film. The novel was written intentionally for the purpose of becoming a film, and anyone who has read the book will notice a large part of the dialogue is used word-for-word. Though Bunker has been involved with many films, he may be best remembered today for playing Mr. Blue in "Reservoir Dogs", not coincidentally co-starring with "Animal Factory" director Steve Buscemi. Bunker, for those who do not know, is not only an accomplished crime writer, but very much the type of hardened criminal he liked to write about. He had been involved in bank robbery, drug dealing, extortion and more, so he knew what he was doing. The book was adapted to film by Bunker and his friend and co-producer Danny Trejo. They had both worked with Steve Buscemi before (Trejo was in "Con Air") and Bunker liked Buscemi's film "Trees Lounge" (1996), so he was actually their first choice. He, of course, agreed. Bunker had also hand-picked Edward Furlong for the lead, in part for his "androgynous" look. "Animal Factory" was filmed at Holmesburg Prison in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Filming was completed in 30 days, two days longer than originally scheduled. Buscemi employed hundreds of prisoners from Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility, the prison that replaced Holmesburg Prison in 1995. This is a great standout performance for Danny Trejo; interestingly, Trejo is the godfather of Bunker's son, and the two first met at San Quentin State Prison; the duo has been working on movies together since "Runaway Train" (1985). On the flip side of the coin, Tom Arnold is so awful in his line delivery and his moments ruin an otherwise excellent film. The Arrow Video Blu-ray includes a 20-minute conversation with Barry Forshaw, author of "American Noir", talking about who Eddie Bunker was. In Forshaw's opinion, Bunker was the all-time greatest American prison writer, and he relishes in speaking about the author. Interestingly, he sees "Factory" as a version of the British series "Porridge" (1974-77), which is obviously coincidental. An audio commentary with Bunker and Trejo is ported over fro man earlier release. Beginning to end, this disc is a celebration of Edward Bunker, a it should be.

Reviewed by tomgillespie2002 7 / 10 / 10

Quietly powerful in small moments

Steve Buscemi's first feature as director was Trees Lounge, an engaging drama about the bored, alcohol-drenched inhabitants of a small town, and their day-to-day interactions. For his second, Buscemi explores many of the same themes of aimlessness and having too much time on your hands, but changes the setting and tone entirely. Adapting Eddie Bunker's novel of the same name (the real- life ex-con also shares script writing duties with John Steppling), Animal Factory is about as unglamorous as prison drama gets. With a heightened sense of realism, violence and rape lurk at every turn, often happening so quickly that you barely have the chance to comprehend it. Buscemi and Bunker also find time to explore an engaging father-and-son relationship, albeit one taut with tension and distrust. After receiving an incredibly harsh sentence for drug possession, young Ron Decker (Edward Furlong) is packed off to prison where his youthful looks quickly attracts unwanted attention. Proving himself to be completely ill-equipped to handle the danger he faces, he is taken in by the shaven-headed Earl Copen (Willem Dafoe), who teaches him the ropes and how to spot a threat. A man of little physical prowess, Earl has risen to a position of authority by using his background in law to improve the living and working standards of his fellow inmates. Surrounded by his gang of trusted bruisers (including Danny Trejo, Mark Boone Junior, and The Wire's Chris Bauer), Earl promises to protect the vulnerable Ron. Pondering Earl's true intentions, Ron at first keeps the smiling convict at arm's length, until a bond is formed that just may help the young offender to make it out alive. By shaping the drama in the most unsensational way imaginable, Buscemi adds the necessary grit to Bunker's knowing words, with many of Bunker's novels taking inspiration from his own time in the slammer. Performances impress across the board, as you would expect from an ensemble taking direction from such a seasoned pro (who also appears). In particular, there are memorable roles for Mickey Rourke, playing Furlong's motor-mouthed, transvestite cell-mate, and, of all people, Tom Arnold, who is unnervingly convincing as a predatory rapist with his eye on Ron. But the film belongs to its two leads. Dafoe brings extra layers to his somewhat sensitive gang leader, and Furlong, one of many promising young actors who emerged in the 90s to disappear into the ether, is particularly effective as the protagonist. Changing his behaviour to suit his surroundings, we see the prison sculpt him into the type of career criminal the system's suppose to prevent. While the matter-of-fact approach prevents it from generating any real momentum - despite an attempted prison-break climax - Animal Factory is quietly powerful in small moments.

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