Game of Throne’s Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is a Shot Caller
The 2017 crime drama thriller Shot Caller takes us into the prison yard and explores its complex social structure and how it becomes an enabling factor in crime. The film stars Nikolaj Coster-Waldau of the Game of Thrones fame as Jacob ‘Money’ Harlon who has the ideal life; a beautiful wife, promising career and a young son. However, while driving home after a party crashes and kills his best friend which lands him in prison.
Once inside, he finds out how dangerous life as a loner can be and quickly decides to choose a side.
The main theme of the film is about prison rehabilitation or the lack of it. Harlon is thrown in the deep end when he goes in prison and soon realizes that he needs to be part of a gang in order to survive and make it back to his family in one piece. Unfortunately, this means getting his hands ‘dirty’ and an encounter during a riot increases his term to 10 years. It also elevates his status in the gang and pushes him up the ranks until he comes face to face with ‘Beast’ – the shot caller.
Unfortunately, when Harlon is set to be released he is forced to orchestrate an arms deal with a rival gang – or hi family would face the consequences. He then put into motion his own plan to protect his family.
The film, while focusing on how prison system does more damage to individuals going in, also examines why. In this case, Harlon/Money is driven by the love for his family and the desire to keep them safe – a role parallel to his depiction of Jamie Lanister in HBO’s Game of Thrones television series.
Harlon’s main reason for joining a gang was to ensure that he got back to his family. However, as he progressed deeper into the belly of the beast, he would ensure their safety by doing what the gang wanted. In the end, he finds out that the only way to keep his family safe would be to become a shot caller.
The film is quite violent and makes a bloody statement about the penal system. It shines light on to an issue that is being literally ignored authorities all over the world – that the prison systems more often turn soft offenders into hard-core criminals.