Shout! Studios have release the new psychological thriller CAGED, directed by Aaron Fjellman on VOD and digital for watch-at-home. Starring Kenyan-born actor Edi Gathegi (X-Men: First Class, The Blacklist) the cast also includes Melora Hardin (The Office, Transparent), Angela Sarafyan (Westworld, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile), Tony Amendola (Annabelle, Once Upon a Time), Robert R. Shafer (The Office, Psycho Cop), and James Jagger (The Outpost, Vinyl). Written by Aaron Fjellman and James “Doc” Mason and produced by Peter Kirtley, Matthew Temple, Jessa Zarubica, and Aaron Fjellman. Executive producers are Edi Gathegi and Ryan Sage.
An affluent African American psychiatrist (Gathegi), convicted of murdering his wife (Sarafyan), is sentenced to life in federal prison, then sent to solitary confinement. Struggling to file an appeal, he descends into madness, pushed to his breaking point by an abusive female guard (Hardin) hell-bent on her own form of justice and haunted by his dead wife, causing him to question his own innocence and sanity.
Fjellman presents a film that is deliberately small in terms of cast and locations; with tight camera angles and some extreme close-ups and more surreal sequenced which create the intentional claustrophobic vibe. The film focuses almost entirely on Dr Harlow Reid (Gathegi) who spends most of his time in solitary confinement for the crime of killing his wife; for which he claims he is completely innocent and wrongly convicted. We also see flashbacks through-out the film of the even However, this taught psychological thriller further examines the effects on the psyche of incarceration as well wider comment on the justice system in America. We also see flashbacks through-out the film to the event’s of Reid’s wife’s death and these develop and twist along with the internal psyche and monologue of Reid. It is left to the audience to decide whether Reid is truly innocent or not.
Gathegi gives a strong and considered performance which is at the centre of the film and manages to portray a complex charecter that experiences the full range of human emotions during his time in solitary confinement and most notably the ‘five stages’ of denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. There is a subtlety in the performance and story-telling which allows the viewer some doubt and sense of mystery as the details of the case are revealed slowly through-out the film.Gatethi is supported by a stellar supporting cast mostly made up of the staff of the prison where he is incarcerated. Melora Hardin is a stand-out as the sadistically cruel prison guard Officer Sacks with white-supremecist tendencies who psychologically tortures Reid during his time in solitary but we later learn has more deep-routed issues from her past. We also see Tony Amendola as the morally complicated prison warden who seems to have some kind of moral compass through-out the film when compared to officer sacks but we are never really quite sure where he really lands.
The film available in North America on VOD: Apple TV, Amazon, Vudu, GooglePlay, Xbox, FandangoNow, Comcast
And also Sky & Amazon Prime in the UK
It will also be available on Premium cable via Starz in October