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With: Juana Acosta, Juan Pablo Raba, Laurence Fishburne, Edward James Olmos, Esai Morales, John Heard, Jon Huertas, Fernanda Urrejola, Vic Polizos, Marisé Álvarez, Jazmín Caratini, Luis de La Rosa
Written by: Paul Kampf
Directed by: Paul Kampf
MPAA Rating: R for violence, disturbing images, some sexuality and language
Running Time: 104
Date: 09/13/2019

Imprisoned (2019)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Pass or Jail

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

An earnest but uninspired attempt to tell a strong story about the Puerto Rican people, this prison/revenge drama comes across as straightfaced soap opera, flat and full of overly-familiar elements.

In Imprisoned, Maria (Juana Acosta) is happily married to ex-con Dylan Burke (Juan Pablo Raba); he works hard as a fisherman and even helps employ other ex-cons. But Maria, who is an active voice in prison reform, comes to the attention of the new warden, Daniel Calvin (Laurence Fishburne).

He makes the connection to Dylan, and to a tragic event that changed both their lives, and thus begins a hunt to frame Dylan, get him back in prison, and destroy his life. But Maria continues the fight to stop the death penalty, and she won't give up until her husband's life is spared.

Imprisoned moves along at an even keel, as if it were coasting, employing montage for the passing of time and shaky-cam for tense moments, and telegraphing each dramatic moment miles in advance. The movie has no surprises except for a few times when it simply defies logic, oblivious to the way things operate.

Fishburne at least seems to relish his villainous role, finding that solid middle ground in which his treachery springs from a place of righteousness, rather than simple mustache-twisting meanness. And it is difficult not to care for the lead couple (Acosta and Raba); they have lots of chemistry and a genuine goodness about them that's hard to resist.

A handful of legendary character actors, like Edward James Olmos, Esai Morales, and John Heard, have less to do, but their presence is nonetheless welcome. Overall, Imprisoned isn't so much a bad movie as it is flavorless.

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