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SHACKLES - Prison and poetry may not seem fittin, but wait till u hear 'em 'spittin'!
Above average cable fare features a dramatic performance by D.L. Hughley and some 'inspired' poetry that's so heartfelt it's hard to believe it was either written or rehearsed!
3 stars [(2005)USA] - (1 hr. 55 min.)
Directed by Charles Winkler
Screenplay by Donald Martin
Ben Cross - D.L. Hughley
Gabriel Garcia -Jose Pablo Cantillo
Jose Pablo Cantillo & D.L. Hughley
Warden - Georg Stanford Brown
Sammy One - Vicellous Shannon
Tone - Jerry Quickley
Pretty - Daniel Louis Rivas
Virgil - Barry Shabaka Henley
Loretta the Guard - Cynthia Martell
Minnow - Pablo Santos
Oddly enough, this prison drama set at New York's Shackleton Correctional facility was filmed on the West Coast, which explains many of the bright sunlit scenes. But that minor quibble aside, this movie proved to be a pleasant surprise due in major part to the exemplary performances of the two lead actors.
Sitcom TV-star D.L. Hughley goes the 'Jamie Foxx' route taking on the role of 'Ben Cross', a humorless teacher (with a past) who helps to form the Shackleton Academy, an educational outreach program to help rehabilitate the high school-age prisoners and give them some extra tools when they are eventually released to the outside world.
To Ben's surprise one of his most rebellious students proves to be a natural poet (in a rap sorta way). Prison poetry has never been delivered with this kind of charisma, and actor Jose Pablo Cantillo owns every scene that allows him to riff on every imaginable topic bugging him. His performance is so natural it seems like improvisation, but all of the poetry was written by a second poet who provides an odd parallel narrative.
I guess I should warn you that this film does suffer a bit from being over-edited with its use of slo-mo, split-screens, etc. that seem to be part & parcel of our MTV-generation. Distracting visuals aside, this movie is still worth the price of a rental just to hear some great poetry and watch two breakout acting performances.
Worth a look!
Last edited by Darko, Donnie; 10-17-2005 at 07:49 PM.