Oliver believes he is being executed by lethal injection for his crimes. He shouts four-letter epithets at the witnesses as the fluid enters his bloodstream. When he awakens, however, he is not in Hell - he is alive, lying on a slab at the city morgue. Short and sweet - he is told that, if he is willing to be a test subject for a new medication, he could have a second chance at life. Otherwise, the execution will continue right there, in the morgue, immediately. The little yellow pills alter the brains chemistry, suppress violent tendencies and reduce aggression. What's he got to lose?
Dr. Miles Copeland, (William DeFoe), is a neuropharmacologist and the designer of the miracle drug he believes, if taken regularly, with appropriate supervision, can turn a brutal sociopath into an average citizen. There's lots of explosive violence, (Liotta is a master at portraying rage), until his brain chemistry is finally altered. Then the noticeable difference in the man is mind-boggling.
Phase two of the experiment has Oliver out on the street, with an apartment and job of his own, a monitoring device locked on his ankle, camera's in every room, and a surveillance van outside the front door. Through a series of "unforeseeable events," he is forced to run, although his heart and soul are with the program. I don't want to give anything away...so I will stop here. But there are some twists and turns that even I did not see coming.
There are a lot of problems with this movie, but all-in-all, I liked it. I was certainly riveted to the screen. One is asked to suspend belief, and accept the premise that the state and federal government would turn loose a maniac criminal after only 12 weeks of treatment - just meds, no psychotherapy even. Then we wonder how "the unforeseeable" was not foreseen. These guys, a combo of FBI and police, along with the drug company goons, are supposed to be professionals! On the other hand, Liotta does a fabulous job of making his character a sympathetic figure, especially after the super violent beginning. I always like Willem DeFoe, and he is excellent as the idealistic doctor who wants to make a positive contribution to human life. There are some excellent action scenes and the suspense is chilling. The love interest works and Teresa, (played by Michelle Rodriguez), is adorable but just savvy enough to be credible in the role of former sociopath's girlfriend.
"Control" was released late in 2004, but it garnered almost no coverage. I first saw the title while looking for a good rental. This will never be a classic, but it does provide interesting entertainment.