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An Innocent Man

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Critics' Reviews

AMG Review
Karl Williams
It's hard to know if Tom Selleck can portray anything other than stalwart, forthright heroes because his rugged good looks have typecast him in variations on the square-shouldered protagonist. His role here is no exception. His character is such a one-note fellow, in fact, that it's hard to work up the emotional engagement the film clearly wants to convey. Surprisingly, what's left instead is a compelling and interesting drama. The film is a tightly structured potboiler that quickly recovers its footing after some wobbly exposition to become an absorbing if shockingly violent peek under the lid of the racism, gang warfare, and daily humiliations of prison life. F. Murray Abraham turns in one of his best pre-ham performances as a wily con who becomes the lead's cunning mentor, acting as a tour guide of the hellish institution for both Selleck's naïve character and the viewer. If not as emotionally captivating as it should be, director Peter Yates' film is a tough, stimulating entry in the prison genre. Compared to such superior later fare as television's gritty, no-holds-barred Oz, An Innocent Man (1989) pales due to its clichés, simplicity, and predictability, but judged under its own merit, the film is engaging. ~ Karl Williams, Rovi
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