| A lot of talent goes to waste in this repulsive movie directed by John Curran (“The Painted Veil” and “We Don’t Live Here Anymore”) from a script written by Angus MacLachlan (“Junebug”).
Parole officer Jack Mabry (Academy Award winner Robert De Niro from “The Good Shepherd,” “Meet the Parents,” “Goodfellas” and “Taxi Driver”) has only a few weeks remaining before retirement. He wants to finish his current cases. The most perplexing one is that of title character Gerald “Stone” Creeson (Oscar nominee Edward Norton from “The Painted Veil” and “The Illusionist”), a foul-mouthed arsonist with three years remaining on a sentence for a residential fire that killed his grandparents.
Jack feels little sympathy for Stone’s pleas for an early release and tries to tune out his coarse language. Feeling that his efforts to convince Jack are futile, Stone arranges for his boisterous and aggressive nymphomaniac wife Lucetta (Milla Jovovich from the “Resident Evil” franchise and “A Perfect Getaway”) to seduce the disgruntled and brooding corrections officer.
Jack has been married for more than four decades to religiously devout Madylyn (Frances Conroy from “Six Feet Under”). They live a quiet life in a secluded home in the country. They like to sit on the porch at night and drink alcohol before going to bed. Jack is constantly listening to religious talk radio.
The noisy prison atmosphere is contrasted with Jack’s solitude in his private life. Jack has impure thoughts and struggles with his religious beliefs. Stone starts reading religious novels seeking spiritual enlightening. He meditates and listens for the sound of God’s tuning fork after witnessing the brutal death of a fellow inmate.
Lucetta pursues Jack by calling him repeatedly at home and using a seductively sexy voice. She finally persuades Jack to meet for lunch. Jack later goes to Lucetta’s house for a back massage. She dances in a provocative way and gets Jack drunk. They have sex while the voice on the radio announces that “sin is inbred in us.”
In order to cover up his transgression, Jack decides to submit a positive report on Stone, approving parole. Stone, who has undergone a profound spiritual epiphany, no longer cares anymore about getting out. He realizes his life is no longer empty and pointless.
This movie has no redeeming value. All of the main characters are sinners with no moral backbones. Things get muddled and nobody changes for the better. This mishmash of profanity, kinky sex and religious babble should have gone straight to DVD. If you still feel the insatiable urge to buy a ticket, you can catch it exclusively at either AMC Studio 30 or Cinemark Palace on the Plaza.
Keith Cohen "The Movie Guy"