» Furlough (2018, USA)

Melissa Leo as Joan Anderson and Tessa Thompson as CO Nicole Stevens

A big hurrah for a film that shows another side of prison life - a prisoner’s escorted deathbed visit to her dying mother - instead of the standard fare of power plays, fight clubs, corruption and shankings. Hurrah! Then the reservations. It’s a comedy, not of the laugh-out-loud variety, undermined by how safe and comfortable it all is; tricky issues are avoided or resolved a bit too painlessly, and awkward prison matters don’t even register. If it weren’t for the shackles, the correctional officer uniform and the obligatory karaoke-singing Warden, you might even forget that it involves a prisoner under escort. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on September 15th, 2018 at 4:19 pm. Updated on September 15th, 2018 at 4:19 pm.

» Underdogs (2007, Germany)

underdogs-10

Six cute Labrador puppies. Six tough prisoners. And one particularly closed off, violent prisoner who has absolutely no interest in resocialisation, but whose outlook is changed by the meeting of the two. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on September 1st, 2018 at 8:21 pm. Updated on September 1st, 2018 at 8:28 pm.

» Crown Heights (2017, USA)

Crown Heights - Lakeith Stanfield as Colin Warner

“Please don’t let it be a cell.” So says Colin Warner on waking each day. But for 21 years, it is. And he’s innocent. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on August 19th, 2018 at 8:37 pm. Updated on August 19th, 2018 at 8:39 pm.

» Revolver (1973, Italy / France / Germany)

Revolver - Oliver Reed as Vito Cipriani

“Society has many ways of defending itself: red tape, prison bars, and the revolver.” So says a French lawyer to his Italian client, ex-homicide detective and current prison warden Vito Cipriani (Oliver Reed), who is in a bit of a pickle. The gist of the lawyer’s, um, unorthodox advice is that the revolver might need to take precedence in dealing with that particular type of defensive pickle. And explains why the movie isn’t called ‘Red Tape’. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on August 11th, 2018 at 6:28 pm. Updated on August 11th, 2018 at 6:28 pm.

» Gridiron Gang (2006, USA)

Gridiron Gang - David Thomas as Kelvin Owens and Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson as Sean Porter

After Kenny Bates (Trever O’Brien), one of the inmates at LA’s Camp Kilpatrick juvenile detention center, has an upsetting visit with his mother and is sitting on his own, distressed, Sean Porter (Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson) - who is not employed as a football coach (but is putting a team together) - seeks him out. “What’s going on, buddy?” “It’s my mom. Things are just so messed up. It gets so I just hate her.” “No you don’t.” “I just want my mom to love me, you know?” “I know. I know. Know what I was thinking? How about we try you out at receiver?” “Good. You mean like I’d be catching the ball?” “Sometimes. Mostly blocking.” “That’d be cool.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on August 2nd, 2018 at 9:36 pm. Updated on August 2nd, 2018 at 9:36 pm.

» Infinity Chamber (2016, USA)

Infinity - Christopher Soren Kelly as Frank Lerner

Advanced security technology is one thing. A little commonplace, arguably. Advanced technology that simultaneously mines your mind for inculpating memory traces and exercises a basic duty of care is another. And is less commonplace. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on July 25th, 2018 at 10:00 pm. Updated on July 25th, 2018 at 10:00 pm.

» Escape Plan 2: Hades (2018, USA / China)

Hades - Xiaoming Huang as Shu

The first film in this series, Escape Plan (2013), was a bit of a flop… except in China, apparently. This one suffers from many of the same problems, which may well be further compounded by the planned second Chinese backed sequel (EP3: Devil’s Station) when it hits the straight-to-DVD shelves some time in the future. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on July 16th, 2018 at 9:29 pm. Updated on July 16th, 2018 at 9:29 pm.

» Affinity (2008, UK / Canada / Romania)

Affinity - Anna Madeley as Margaret Prior

After watching Affinity I have had to radically revise my understanding of imprisonment in Victorian England. Life in Victorian England.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on July 14th, 2018 at 8:14 pm. Updated on July 14th, 2018 at 8:14 pm.

» Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949, UK)

Kind Hearts and Coronets - Dennis Price as Louis D'Ascoyne Mazzini

This doesn’t seem to be on anybody’s prison movies lists. And nor, I suspect, should it be. But I was keen to have a look at it nonetheless, as it’s topped and tailed by prison scenes and the whole story is told by a condemned man due to be hanged the next morning. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on July 3rd, 2018 at 10:05 pm. Updated on July 3rd, 2018 at 10:05 pm.

» The Archer (2017, USA)

The Archer - Bailey Noble as Lauren Pierce

The 2008 ‘kids for cash’ scandal in Pennsylvania’s Luzerne County resulted in two judges, Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan, ultimately receiving sentences of 28 and 17½ years respectively for taking kickbacks from for-profit juvenile detention centres (enhanced by giving children unnecessary or excessive sentences to prolong their stays there). Children were branded as delinquents and sent to the centres for as little as mocking an assistant principal on a MySpace page, being found in a vacant building, and cursing another child’s mother, and the case is cited as the inspiration for this movie. None of the affected children, to my knowledge, were champion archers… but there were several thousand victims, so there could well have been champion archers, philatelists, lacrosse players, trichologists and kids whose other skills withered as they endured unnecessary spells in custody. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on June 14th, 2018 at 8:58 pm. Updated on June 14th, 2018 at 8:58 pm.