ACTION; 1hr 35min
STARRING: Mel Gibson, Peter Stormare, Kevin Hernandez
Killing time: from left, Gibson and Hernandez
“Small town, big hell.” That’s El Pueblito prison, a shantytown rancid with corruption into which the nameless Driver (Gibson) is unceremoniously dumped after a bungled multimillion-dollar robbery. Driver is a hard case, which is useful when you’re surrounded by them. He carves himself a meagre niche with the wily smarts of a 10-year-old accomplice (Hernandez). (Yes, 10. In this reality-based prison, entire families co-exist.)
But these are troubled times: for sickly prison tyrant Javi (Daniel Giménez Cacho), for San Francisco Frank (Stormare) whose dirty money it originally was, for sundry other lowlifes, all up to no good, and not least for gringo Driver, toughing it out through a spinny ride with the funky, cross-hatched feel of full-on Elmore Leonard. Making his feature debut, director Adrian Grünberg — who co-wrote the screenplay with Gibson and Stacey Perske — keeps the action bloody and rough. Which suits his gnarly star just fine: He sails through the seamy disarray with the practiced ease of a man intimately familiar with the hard-knocks score.