There are some nice moments along the way. The three Canucks — played by Liev Schrieber, John (Four Weddings And A Funeral) Hannah and Deborah Kara Unger (the blonde who looked bored out of her skull in the sex scenes in David Cronenberg’s Crash) — move to Jersey to free Rubin, unaware of what they’re up against, or even that cruising round town in a Volvo with Ontario license plates makes you kind of an obvious target. “You don’t know sh*t, Mister Canada,” says the rotten cop, trying to scare off the northern niceniks. “Where the f**k do you think you are? This look like Toronto to you?” Given that most movies set in New Jersey are actually filmed in Toronto these days, that question has an eerie, post-modern quality about it.
Though the movie ends on the courthouse steps, in real life Hurricane returned with his new friends to live in their commune, only to discover that the Trenton state prison was comparatively relaxed compared to the Toronto suburbs. Alcohol was banned, and so were cigarettes, and, when the others suspected him of smuggling in the odd pack of smokes, they started frisking him — which the Jersey warders had never done. Trapped in a prison of Canadian niceness, Hurricane began pining for the amiable regime of the old jailhouse where all you had to worry about was dropping the soap.
As Kathy Shaidle puts it in her own farewell to Rubin Carter, “that white liberal hippie do-gooder commune was just another type of prison.”