It's odd that whenever talk of Prison base films crops up you rarely see Brubaker mentioned as a viable piece of work, which to me personally is a damn shame because it's origin source provides a worthy story to be involved in.
Based on the writings of Tom Murton, a Prison Farm Reform Warden in Arkansas in the late 60s, the corruption and murder the film deals with is a very frightening reality, and although this film is obviously fictionalised to a degree, the evidence of the main themes can be found from many sources.
Robert Redford plays the title character who chooses to go into the prison farm as a convict to see at first hand how the Farm is run, what he sees shocks him to the core, which in turn rightly shocks the viewer as well. After learning all he needs to, he comes forward to take control of the Farm and tries to put an end to the torture, corruption and dank depression that is rife at the Farm. He has to deal with many obstacles along the way and it's the strength of the man that has the viewer firmly onside all through the film.
The acting is emotionally spot on, the title role calls for a cool persona to not get flustered when faced with mounting resistance, and Redford delivers in spades. The main supporting cast of Yaphet Kotto, David Keith, and Jane Alexander do very good work (believable), whilst the direction from Stuart Rosenberg is paced to perfection. The story is grimy and gnaws away at you, and then we get the ending that frustrates as much as it lifts the spirit, this is in my opinion is a criminally undervalued piece of work. 8/10