Sadly, this is a crime thriller, not a prison movie. It’s also a movie about strategy, but not as much as its laboured chess metaphor would want you to believe. It’s more of an old fashioned shoot ‘em up heist movie, with liberal doses of intrigue and black humour, and a master-apprentice theme. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on October 21st, 2014 at 9:22 pm. Updated on October 21st, 2014 at 9:22 pm.
Most prison movies that focus on prison governors or wardens, rather than prisoners - of which Duffy of San Quentin (1954) is perhaps the best example - are little more than indulgent testimonials. Not this one.
Posted on October 17th, 2014 at 10:12 pm. Updated on October 17th, 2014 at 10:12 pm.
The South Koreans certainly love a good prison tear-jerker - Miracle in Cell No. 7 (2013), for instance, and Harmony (2010) - both of which also star young children, as does this weepy. But Way Back Home is also very reminiscent of Hell In Tangier (2006) and Left to Die (2012), both of which feature prisoners in third-world prisons overseas, hampered by inept, judgmental and disinterested embassy officials, and eventually released after persistent media campaigns. As this one does. The point of difference from the last two is that in this case the prisoner is guilty. Of stupidity, at the very least.
Posted on October 14th, 2014 at 9:30 pm. Updated on October 14th, 2014 at 9:30 pm.
The crossover between westerns and prison movies is not a common one; Hellgate (1952) and There was a Crooked Man… (1970) being the only other examples I can readily bring to mind. Even in this film, once the scene-setting shootout between men in ten-gallon hats is dispensed with very early in the piece, it settles down into a standard prison movie. Well, as standard as you can get where there is one female prisoner in an all-male jail. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on October 5th, 2014 at 5:01 pm. Updated on October 14th, 2014 at 9:48 pm.
When I saw the publicity for this film refer to “the edge of Armageddon” and a small band of rebel prisoners’ “only true hope of salvation in a condemned world”, I didn’t think it was talking about the literal (i.e. Biblical) Armageddon. Or that ’salvation’ meant ‘Christian salvation’. But that’s exactly what is meant. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on September 28th, 2014 at 2:55 pm. Updated on September 28th, 2014 at 3:02 pm.
“Everyday is both a bittersweet story of survival and love and a celebration of the small pleasures of everyday life,” says the blurb on my DVD. If that’s what it’s supposed to be, I want my money back. If it’s a celebration of anything at all (and I’m not too sure that it is), it seems to me that it’s of one woman’s grit and a family’s resilience. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on September 23rd, 2014 at 9:44 pm. Updated on September 23rd, 2014 at 9:44 pm.
When you learn that almost all of this film was shot at the Boys’ School of Indiana in Plainfield, and then see the Governor of Indiana, Henry F Schricker, making a guest appearance, playing himself, you know that this is going to be reasonably sympathetic to the reformatory and its correctional approach. Indeed, this is unashamedly a tribute movie - co-written by producer RW Alcorn, himself a grateful graduate of the Boys’ School who went on to make lots of money. And this film. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on September 21st, 2014 at 1:39 pm. Updated on September 21st, 2014 at 1:39 pm.
“Here, I don’t find any inconvenience. This is heaven, isn’t it?” says one prisoner of the Filipino jail in which he’s banged up. And it is something of a safe haven for a select few - a place where money can buy anything, where one can carry on one’s illegal activities without too much interference, and where one can hide away from one’s enemies. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on September 18th, 2014 at 9:17 pm. Updated on September 18th, 2014 at 9:17 pm.
The ‘New Alcatraz’ is a secret supermax prison built “somewhere in Antartic (sic)” and funded by the world’s leaders to contain the world’s worst criminals…. a little like the outer space prison a decade or so later in Lockout (2012). It’s clearly a work in progress; we’re told that when it’s fully operational it will hold 25,000 inmates (so much for the fragile Antarctic ecosystems), but for the time being it is holding just six prisoners and there are just the warden, nine guards, and two engineers to look after them. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on September 16th, 2014 at 10:03 pm. Updated on September 16th, 2014 at 10:03 pm.
Eric Love (Jack O’Connell) is 19, ’starred up’ (transferred to adult prison prematurely from juvenile prison), and out to make a splash. On his first day he violently attacks an unsuspecting fellow prisoner, puts himself into a state of Bronson-esque arousal for the ensuing fight with prison officers and finishes up holding one officer hostage with an aerial at his throat and then gripping another’s privates between his teeth. I don’t know too many prisons that would allow him to just go back into the wing after that… even as an outcome negotiated for the officers’ release, but back to the wing he goes, the new prison Governor a little peeved that she hadn’t been advised of his arrival. It’s a mark of this film that it’s able to overcome that initial credibility gap and still be an exceptional prison movie.
Posted on August 30th, 2014 at 4:38 pm. Updated on August 30th, 2014 at 4:38 pm.