Against the Wall

Watch Against the Wall

  • R
  • 2004
  • 1 hr 25 min
  • 6.7  (3,232)

Against the Wall is a 1994 crime drama film directed by John Frankenheimer and starring Kyle MacLachlan, Samuel L. Jackson, and Clarence Williams III. The story is based on the Attica Prison riot that occurred in 1971 and follows a group of correctional officers who find themselves in the middle of the violent uprising. The film begins with a brief introduction to the situation at Attica prison. It is overcrowded, understaffed, and has a growing number of inmates who are agitated and fed up with their living conditions. On September 9, 1971, tensions reached a boiling point when a group of prisoners broke out of their cells and took control of the facility.

One of the correctional officers working at Attica during the riot is Michael Smith (Kyle MacLachlan). Smith is a young and inexperienced officer who is quickly thrown into the chaotic situation. He finds himself struggling to find his footing and questioning his decisions as the violence erupts around him.

Another key character in the film is Jamaal X (Samuel L. Jackson), one of the leaders of the inmate revolt. X is a charismatic and intelligent man who is passionate about improving the conditions in the prison. He uses his natural leadership abilities to rally his fellow prisoners and negotiate with the authorities for better rights and privileges.

As the standoff between the inmates and the authorities intensifies, tensions rise, and violence breaks out. The inmates demand better living conditions, more access to education, and an end to the systematic racism in the prison system. The authorities, on the other hand, feel threatened and are determined to regain control of the prison by any means necessary.

Throughout the film, Michael Smith and Jamaal X are shown to be two sides of the same coin. Both men are struggling to come to terms with their roles in the situation, and both are grappling with issues of power, race, and responsibility. As the standoff continues, they find themselves developing a strange kind of respect for each other, even as they remain on opposite sides of the conflict.

One of the standout features of Against the Wall is its strong sense of realism. The film is shot in a gritty, documentary-style, with a subdued color palette and naturalistic lighting. The dialogue is sharp and authentic, and the performances are uniformly excellent. The film boasts a strong supporting cast that includes veteran actor Clarence Williams III as an older, more experienced correctional officer, and Frederic Forrest as a no-nonsense state trooper sent in to restore order.

The film also does a great job of conveying the sense of chaos and confusion that characterized the Attica riot. It is clear that no one was fully prepared for the uprising, and both the inmates and the authorities are making it up as they go along. The film does an excellent job of maintaining tension throughout, even during moments of relative calm.

Overall, Against the Wall is a powerful and thought-provoking film that successfully dramatizes a notorious moment in American history. With strong performances, excellent direction, and a commitment to realism, it is a must-see for anyone interested in prison reform, race relations, and social justice.

Against the Wall is a 2004 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 25 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.7.

Against the Wall
Where to Watch Against the Wall
Against the Wall is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Against the Wall for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 25 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.7  (3,232)