BRAWL IN CELLBLOCK 99

Much like S. Craig Zahler‘s previous film, Bone Tomahawk, Brawl in Cell Block 99 will be a divisive movie. Some will love it, some will hate it, but nobody is going to walk away feeling “meh” about it.

The film is anchored by Vince Vaughn‘s career-best performance as Bradley Thomas, an imposing hulk of a guy with a talent for bringing the pain. Bradley isn’t just a brute, though. The man has a moral compass that he has to obey, even if that means putting himself, his pregnant wife and the life they’ve built together at risk. However, that doesn’t mean he won’t unleash an ass-kicking when he has to. There is some brutal violence in this movie that would make even the most die hard fan of Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky nod in approval.

Brawl in Cell Block 99 is definitely not for the squeamish, but the film has lots of character and dramatic complexity layered within the very pulpy premise of a bone-breaker having to do some brutal things for the sake of his family.

I was able to sit down with writer/director S. Craig Zahler and Vince Vaughn to discuss that complexity as well as building the character of Bradley (don’t call him Brad) Thomas. Both men had no trouble going into detail about the world and character-building going on in this totally insane film.

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udo kier interview

Udo Kier is one of the most interesting screen personalities working today. To call him a character actor is somewhat small-minded. The man is a force of personality, so incredibly comfortable with himself that nothing is ever off limits. That makes him dangerous on screen because anything can happen.

From his early days working with Andy Warhol and Paul Morrissey in artfully absurd takes on the famous Universal Monsters to his current work, usually playing creepy European dudes, Kier always elevates everything he’s in, be it the latest Alexander Payne movie (Downsizing) or direct-to-video sleaze like the Iron Sky films.

In S. Craig Zahler‘s Brawl in Cell Block 99 Kier plays a character known only as “The Placid Man,” a servant for the big bad guy of the story who calmly lays out some terrible options for Vince Vaughn‘s rage-filled criminal at the heart of the story. We spoke to him following the film’s premiere at Fantastic Fest and as you’d expect, chatting with him was an amazing, sometimes surreal experience.

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Brawl in Cell Block 99 Review

S. Craig Zahler‘s Brawl in Cell Block 99 may be one of the most violent movies ever made. It’s easy to imagine scenes from its gore-soaked final act becoming YouTube shock fodder in the years ahead, moments that people spring on unsuspecting friends to get a reaction. That may sound like catnip for seasoned genre film fans, audiences who are numb to cinematic violence and feel like they’ve seen everything, but even those with the most hardened nerves may find themselves lightheaded. It’s that gross. It’s that unsparing. It’s that effective.

But it also comes at the end of a bad movie. Albeit, a bad movie that curious viewers should definitely check out for themselves because Brawl in Cell Block 99 is too weird to ignore, too audacious to write off, and too damn interesting to stop thinking about. But yes, it is bad.

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Brawl in Cell Block 99 trailer

Vince Vaughn looks like a force to be reckoned with and just an absolute beast in Brawl in Cell Block 99. Vaughn is a big guy with a towering presence, so he looks more than suitable to play the role of a former boxer trying to survive prison in writer and director S. Craig Zahler‘s (Bone Tomahawk) new crime film. Zahler might be showing a whole new side of Vaughn, whose performance looks incredibly promising.

Below, watch the Brawl in Cell Block 99 trailer.

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