Chair, The (2016)


thechair-posterStarring Bill Oberst, Jr., Timothy Muskatell, Roddy Piper

Directed by Chad Ferrin

Doing an independent comic book adaptation right really is a thing of beauty: you can have your Marvel and DC transformations until the cows come home, but the real beauty is taking an unharnessed piece of work and crafting it into something that can be enjoyed on screen. Director Chad Ferrin, who warned us of the dangers of poking fun at the homeless in Parasites, delivers yet again with his variation of Alterna Comics’ violent page-turner The Chair.

Step on inside this dingy prison to get a closer look but please keep as close to the wall as possible and try to not make eye contact with our “residents.”

Taken from the graphic novel written by Peter Simeti, the focus here is on prisoner Richard Sullivan (Muskatell), a man who was wrongly imprisoned and sent to Death Row and spends his days watching a sadistic warden (Oberst, Jr.) carry out his ultra-brutal forms of corrective punishment on the hapless convicts. Knowing that his time, too, will come, more than likely being unable to prove his innocence, he’s got to find a way to battle back against the barbaric prison watchdog just to stay alive. For a man facing execution (eta: unknown), he begins to battle overwhelming odds not only in his confined space, but in the deepest recesses of his mind.

Now, make no mistake; this isn’t The Green Mile or Shawshank Redemption by any stretch – it’s brutal, unforgiving, and quite frankly fitting of a graphic novel adaptation to film. Also starring is the late great one, the Rowdy Scotsman, Roddy Piper – he plays a prison guard with a VERY nasty way of dealing with the inmates, merely adding to the already hellish conditions inside these guarded walls.

While I could drone on and on about the movie’s in-your-face sadism towards the convicted, as it rolled along I really viewed this as a intently heavy psycho-drama, with ruthless overtones. Ferrin’s got a knack for anteing up on the violence, and this film is no exception. If there were a negative to harp upon, it would be the way that the story has quite a bit of mud to slop through in order to convey its most direct path; but sifting through it, there really is a strong message that deals with a variety of childhood trauma. It’s pretty heavy stuff and quite conducive to the overall story.

As performances go, is there REALLY anyone better in this industry right now to play an unhinged, cruel, insane, and generally off-the-rails individual other than Bill Oberst, Jr.? I swear every film I’ve had the joy of watching with this man in it has been upped a level simply due to the fact that once he steps in front of the camera with that dead-eyed, stone-faced stare, it will ensure you a thorough cleaning-out of your shorts will be needed afterwards. Well, now that I’ve ruined everyone’s appetite, let’s move on, shall we? Both Muskatell and Piper are more than adept at kicking ass in their roles, with Piper probably delivering one of his finest in a career that bounced from the ring to both TV and film.

Overall, this movie won’t appeal to the fans of the “feel-good” set, and why would they entertain this anyway? It’s harsh, gritty, scummy, unpleasant…and really right up my alleyway. Give this heart-warmer a look when it comes to your screen!

  • Film
User Rating 3.44 (16 votes)


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