Generally favorable reviews - based on 12 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 12
  2. Negative: 0 out of 12
  1. 80
    Tender, poignant, and homoerotically charged, this complicated father-son relationship is brought to life by two brilliant actors and a director who's canny enough to give them all the room they need.
  2. One of the least sensationalistic--and therefore, more unsettlingly plausible--visions of prison life ever transfigured into big-screen drama.
  3. 75
    A genre-busting film that deserves to be seen.
  4. Buscemi's directing blends hard-hitting visual qualities with great emotional energy.
  5. A wonderfully acted, strangely low-key prison movie.
  6. Reviewed by: Ernest Hardy
    It's a guy's film that doesn't just revel in testosterone, though -- it has a more purposeful agenda.
  7. 70
    Willem Dafoe steals the picture with his comic timing.
  8. Reviewed by: Staff (not credited)
    In one of his best leading screen turns, Dafoe makes a potentially unlikely construct into a fascinating, full-blooded figure.
  9. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    There's something surprisingly sweet at the center of this grim prison drama.
  10. 60
    What enrich the film are its layers of detail -- moronic racial protocols, turf wars, pecking orders, men as livestock -- the authenticity of the dialogue and the rich range of characters.
  11. (Rourke's) nearly unrecognizable presence is characteristic of the odd pockets of talent (and, sometimes, lint) in Steve Buscemi's film.
  12. 50
    You come away with the sense that you should have come to care (or at least to know) more about its central characters than you do.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 7 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Feb 24, 2013
    Animal Factory is the second film directed by Boardwalk Empire Star, Steve Buscemi. The story is about what happens to a young guy who is convicted of a serious crime and sentenced to Federal prison. We've all seen Oz and other shows that take you inside, but this is different. In Animal Factory, you see prison from a totally new perspective, through the eyes of someone who is basically still a child. You see that even if you can figure out how to survive, you still witness untold horrors. Edward Furlong is very underrated and great as always. Willem Dafoe is also very good in what is an unusual role for him. The movie also has some great cameos, including Mickey Rourke as a drag queen claiming to have a vagina. It's clever, well written, and isn't what you expect from a prison movie. Full Review »
  2. Jul 1, 2012
    Animal Factory, while not outstanding, is one of the most charming and effective prison films I have seen in a long time. Actor/director Steve Buscemi has done a great job, and despite the minimal creativity in terms of cinematography it's easy to see past the film's shortcomings thanks to a stellar cast. Willem Dafoe is absolutely brilliant, demanding the viewer's attention but not overplaying the role - he portrays his character with a sly, subtle perfection that is a delight to watch. Edward Furlong is also great for the most part, and the supporting cast - especially Mickey Rourke, playing the surprising role of a prison transsexual - are all excellent too. The cast potray their characters really effectively, bringing a charismatic flair to the film that draws you in emotionally, and Buscemi shows great talent as a director in his ability to bring the best out of his actors. Though there are a few somewhat baffling scenes, and a surprisingly low-key ending, Animal Factory is a great credit to everyone involved. Full Review »