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“Inmate #1: The Rise of Danny Trejo” (2020) - Sam Gall Movie Review Issue #32 Gem Mint 10.0

Updated: Sep 17, 2020

“Inmate #1: The Rise of Danny Trejo” (2020) directed by Brett Harvey

Having spent much of his early life in prison, actor Danny Trejo discusses his career and how he has overcome a life of crime and addiction.

You might like this if you like: Danny Trejo, redemption stories, biographies, documentaries, crime stories, movies about movies, acting, prison life,

A beautiful, heartfelt redemption story. One of the greatest biopics I’ve ever seen. Danny’s story needs to be heard. I’ve been HUGE Trejo fan for as long as I can remember. I even got to work on a documentary that he was in called “Good Fortune” (2017). “Machete” (2010) & “Machete Kills” (2013) are some of my favorite films. His minor roles across hundreds of films are iconic. Even people who can’t name one of his films know his face. I was even a fan of his story as well having seen the 2005 documentary “Champion” (2005) in which you get - from what I remember - a lighter account of Trejo’s life but he talks about the credit list/stereotyped acting gigs he got early in his career which consisted of literally the title; “Inmate #1”.

Danny Trejo in "Inmate #1: The Rise of Danny Trejo" (2020)

Danny Trejo gets real, honest and emotional. It’s incredibly brave for someone to be able to talk about their past in such an open and positive way, especially one with a past like Danny’s. I thought I knew a fair amount about this living legend but I felt like I was literally on the other end of a therapy session getting to know this man for the first time. Group therapy with all of Danny’s friends. It was so beautiful and healing. I’ve never seen Trejo feel so comfortable as he did in this film. I’ve seen him talk about his past here and there but never like this.

Danny Trejo in "Machete" (2010)

I can’t even begin to summarize a story Danny tells in this. It’s so deeply personal I feel almost invasive for listening. Trejo has truly lived a live like no other. It’s shocking, painful and heartbreaking all wrapped up in the uplifting spirit of Trejo’s charm. It’s what I’ve always cherished in him. He’s the sweetest, most down to earth badass I can think of.

This film just drives it all home for me. One of the best documentaries I’ve seen in ages. The cinematography and minor use of archival footage. They got access to some really incredible places to film that I know from working in documentary is not easy. You could tell the filmmakers took some risks. It's what I like in my documentaries and I'm not even a big consumer of them. It's a standout biopic. I didn’t think my appreciation or love for this man could get any higher. I truly love everything this human being does.

Danny Trejo in "Inmate #1: The Rise of Danny Trejo" (2020)

Danny Trejo, if you’re listening, please don’t stop what you’re doing. You’re a true hero. Thank you for sharing your story with the world.

Written by Sam Gall on 07/02/20

CGC Grading: Gem Mint 10.0

Shoutout to my friend Aman Segal for sharing this film on his page! His team at Up Stream Flix made the film with Universal Studios. Bravo to everyone involved!

Check out their site here:

Official Trailer:

Rent for $5.99 Buy for $14.99:

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