A brutal crime thriller scratches and claws its way onto the Netflix charts

brawl in cell block 99

Throughout the 2000s and early 2010s, Vince Vaughn got a little too familiar with his laconic onscreen persona, and as a result it felt as though he was starting to phone it in.

On his best days, the actor is an effortlessly charismatic presence with expert comic timing, but the law of diminishing returns eventually and inevitably set in. A reinvention was desperately needed, with writer and director S. Craig Zahler coming along with exactly the right project at the ideal moment in time.

brawl in cell block 99

The end result was Brawl in Cell Block 99, which is often an uncompromising and uncomfortable watch, but also an incredible showcase for Vaughn’s underrated dramatic talents. Former boxer Bradley Thomas loses his job and ends up working as a drug mule, which culminates in his incarceration.

Tossed in prison with nowhere to go but down, he’s forced to indulge his violent tendencies in brutal fashion to survive. As per FlixPatrol, Brawl in Cell Block 99 has been clambering up the Netflix most-watched list, which is highly unusual because it’s not exactly dripping in festive cheer. It’s a great movie, though, anchored by an incredible performance that sees Vaughn sink his teeth into a meaty role that upends your expectations going in.