Murder in The First is one of the best movies I have ever seen. I feel that if you give it a chance you will feel that way, too. The only problem is that it is one of those movies you see at the video store, read the title and don't give a second thought. This is an outstanding movie, and deserves more recognition.
This is not your basic murder mystery. It is about an orphan boy named Henry Young who in his teens tries to care for his younger sister. He must steal five dollars because they are hungry and he can't find work. He is arrested and taken to Alcatraz Prison outside of San Francisco, with all its hardened criminals in the 1930's. The movie takes you from his attempted escape to the terrible abuse he faces for three years in solitary confinement.
The movie grabs your attention and heart when Christian Slater, who plays Henry's lawyer, comes on the scene when Henry is accused of killing an inmate in front of 214 witnesses. Christian Slater's character tries to show that Henry wasn't a murderer when he went into prison, but that this prison turned him into one.
It's a movie that you think about long after seeing it. Kevin Bacon deserved an Oscar for his performance as Henry Young. Murder in the First is definitely worth renting
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.