Control
2005
Sociopath Lee Ray Oliver secretly gets a chance to duck death row when scientist Miles Copeland uses him as a test subject for an experimental drug designed to stifle violent tendencies.

Scott Hardie: “It was ok.”

I really wanted to hold this film in higher regard, but it committed too many plain filmmaking errors: There are few cinematic contrivances more frustrating than the villains waiting in the exact spot where the heroes will happen to arrive, and standing there patiently out of frame while the heroes have a heartfelt conversation, before finally striking. Such extreme coincidence shatters all pretense of believability, leaving you with nothing to enjoy but the technical expertise of the filmmakers, and that ain't much in a not-ready-for-USA-Network amateurpiece like this. Ray Liotta is the only actor who makes an impression, but after eating nails for breakfast in tough-guy parts like "Narc," even Liotta can charitably be said to be phoning this one in. (It is said that he took the part with no prep time when Matt Dillon couldn't fulfill the contract; I hope Dillon didn't let this film down to finish the dismaying "Employee of the Month.") The movie has scenes that work, such as when Liotta sees over and over in his mind the drop of blood that changed his life, and when he seems genuinely nervous about his first date in what might be his entire life, but the film rarely goes for long without leaning on another flimsy contrivance to support the plot it shouldn't be taking so seriously in the first place. This full 180-degree transformation of a monster into a man is better than the film that tells it.

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