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Iolanthe's Quotable Viggo
2 November 2019 05:36:59
Found By: Iolanthe
If you like a bonkers and rather bloody B movie then Renny Harlin’s Prison is for you, though it’s probably only appeared on most of our radars because Viggo is in it channelling ‘a James Dean vibe’ and… um… taking a shower. What’s not to enjoy? The film gathered a new audience and lots of new reviews when it was released on Blu-ray in 2013, bumping up my quotes quota enough to give the film the full Quotable works. It's pretty close to Halloween, after all!
Mortensen shows good leading man chops well before Hollywood took notice of him…
Shlockmania Blu-ray Prison review
18 February 2013
The film, shot on location in a prison in Wyoming, is certainly not a milestone of the genre, but it is entertaining with actors in a good situation - and, for the first time in his career, it gave Mortensen the chance to fully reveal his charisma.
Portrait: Viggo Mortensen - The Actor As Artist
By - translated by Sally
DVD Special (Germany)
Before Viggo Mortensen became Aragorn and before Renny Harlin became known for helming such flashily forgettable action fare as The Long Kiss Goodnight and Driven, the two made sweet incarcerated horror music together with the aptly named Prison (1988). Well, not that sweet, but Prison does have the dubious distinction of being one of Harlin's best as well as the finest film to come out of the late '80s trend of the return of the vengeful executed (remember Wes Craven's Shocker?).
Independent Film Channel
30 October 2007
“When I was casting this little million-dollar horror movie, I really wanted to get good actors though to make it stand out. We saw something like eighty guys in Hollywood, guys you would know from TV and bit parts in movies, but they all felt like the same old thing and I was really frustrated. After we get done with the eighty guys in comes Viggo who had hardly done anything at that point, I think Witness was his only film but I just looked at him and thought please let him know how to act. My mantra was that I wanted to find the next James Dean and he was awesome, very low key and on the spot I said this is our guy.”
Director Renny Harlin
19 December 2011
“He was definitely somebody that people were keeping an eye on and what have you. He was this striking looking guy and he really was a good guy and still is. He’s just a very nice person. But boy he really brought up the smoldering intensity right away. That was terrific.”
Screenwriter Courtney Joyner
Late night classics – Prison
2 June 2010
“There was such a charisma about him. I really thought that this film would make him a household name. Unfortunately, since the film wasn’t really released theatrically, it took Viggo a little longer to get there, but he still got there eventually.”
Review Fix Exclusive: Q & A With “Prison” Director Renny Harlin
Patrick Hickey Jr.
14 February 2013
He… handled almost all of his own stunts, a move that would earn him a stunt team t-shirt by Hodder by the end of production.
Locked Up 30 Years Later: Kane Hodder in ‘Prison’
by Meagan Navarro
6 March 2018
“It was a real low budget horror exploitation thing. The cast was a bunch of people [who were] New York stage actors. For that kind of movie, it was a pretty experienced group of actors; good actors got those parts. So, I was surrounded by people who really knew what they were doing, which was nice. It was fun to work with them. I mean, the story was what it was. It was a horror movie and it was on the cheap side and all that, but Renny Hahn had a certain amount of visual flair. Other that,I don't know if it stands out any more than the other movies at this time. I liked the location, I liked Wyoming.”
Viggo talking about Prison
The Fire That Fuels an Artist's Heart
I know it’s cliché to say an actor has intensity but I think Prison is one of [Viggo’s] more intense roles. There is a scene in the prison yard when he’s going toe-to-toe with a prisoner who’s trying to run the yard that is just cool as hell. His performance actually in Eastern Promises kind of reminds me of Prison because in both films he uses his eyes so much.
19 December 2011
Viggo Mortensen is something of a find as Burke, an inmate apparently bred on James Dean and Montgomery Clift films. All the supporting roles are solid as well. As for the Spirit of Forsythe, he’s not just another masked menace or a flesh-rotted presence, but more of a malevolent specter à la The Keep. When his hell breaks loose, it’s quite chilling.
It’s interesting to watch him here as he channels a James Dean vibe, with his wedge-cut hair and sulky, almost shy delivery.
20 February 2013
Viggo Mortensen, in an early role before stardom, offers a strong-willed, no-frills performance that suits the character wonderfully.
2 February 2013
This was Mortensen’s first lead role, too, but he delivers with a calm and extremely cool persona who holds his own against the more traditional thugs.
By Rob Hunter
filmschoolrejects Blu-ray review
16 February 2013
Prison features a strong cast of recognizable actors, many of whom were at the start of their careers. Viggo Mortensen (The Prophecy) has enjoyed the most success and it is easy to recognize his talent in this early piece. His performance is subtle as a short-time convict gradually pushed into the role of reluctant hero.
Horrortalk.com Blu-ray review
19 February 2013
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© Viggo-Works/Iolanthe. Images © Empire Pictures.