Redford plays an honourable prison warden who disguises himself as a con in order to expose the brutality of prison life.
If The Shawshank Redemption is the doleful labrador of prison flicks, then Brubaker, starring a gutsy, convincing Robert Redford, is the snarling bulldog.
Baring his social conscience loud and proud, Redford's reforming warden takes on a shithole Arkansas prison, riddled with abuse and racism, and comes up against a tide of institutionalised corruption that goes all the way to the top.
Suprisingly well-directed by Rosenberg (the director of the original Amityville Horror, who replaced Brubaker's original helmer Bob Rafelson - fired for giving producer Ron Silverman a knuckle sandwich), it's granite-hard and, despite the odd drift into impassioned cliché, truly gripping.
This muck-rake through America's infected soul could be viewed as one of the last hurrahs of the '70s.