Michael Inside (2017)
Michael Inside is an affecting, subtle and poignant prison drama. Director, Frank Berry, is one for making a case and does so well here in depicting a young man sucked into the prison system through little fault of his own.
Michael is an 18-year-old in Dublin. When his best friend’s big brother asks him to look after a package, all his troubles begin. Already on probation, he’s then caught in possession of drugs and becomes the latest in a line of young men thrust into the lap of a solicitor who can do little for them. His budding romantic relationship is thrown into jeopardy too. It’s impressive how quickly the film’s early scenes create empathy with Michael and his situation, sketching out friendships, relationships and family life with a deft touch.
The film is bleak, and its plot serves up bad news piece-meal. The slow build-up of details and pressures which force Michael into a corner make his story believable. The story is believable in every one of those small details and here it not only entertains, but serves a valuable purpose. Michael Inside is a pertinent window into how easy it is for someone to fall foul of the justice system. It humanises and explains Michael’s, and others, struggles. His plunge into criminality, are relatable from first to last.
Dafhyd Flynn plays the central role of Michael McCrea brilliantly. Viewers see his transition from boy to man and his relationship with his grandfather, played by Lalor Roddy, is genuinely moving. Watching Michael’s innocence drain away during his time in prison is as gruelling as it is gripping.
Bedsit it? Available on Netflix, Michael Inside is a bleak and entertaining film. It’s got an important message, it’s got great performances and it’s got harsh realities. A fantastic no-frills prison drama. 8/10