Inside the first 20-odd minutes one prisoner gets shot dead after holding a toy gun at a guard who was about to rape her, a prisoner with whom the Warden is having a sexual relationship is killed by other prisoners for being a snitch, an African-American prisoner is sliced up by prisoners in an all-white cellblock, and the Warden and Guard Captain are separately implicated in corrupt drug activity. And there’s a shower scene. This film is not afraid of action. Or cliché. Or exploitation. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on October 16th, 2016 at 2:19 pm. Updated on October 16th, 2016 at 2:19 pm.
Welcome to Necrosis 6, a penitentiary planet incorporating the first ‘pharma-prison’. The planet has eight suns, we’re told, which ensures that it never gets dark (and is the reason, presumably, why much of the film was shot using an irritating yellow filter). Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on October 9th, 2016 at 8:27 pm. Updated on October 9th, 2016 at 8:29 pm.
Director Claudio Giovannesi taught at the Casal del Marmo juvenile detention facility in Rome for a number of months in order to get a better appreciation of the centre and its inhabitants. It paid off. This is a finely observed, stripped down, silence-rich portrait of an incarcerated young woman, and of her budding romance with a young man who is held in the male section of the same facility.
Posted on October 4th, 2016 at 9:24 pm. Updated on October 4th, 2016 at 9:24 pm.
OK. So this bloke, John Lomax (Jeff Speakman), is not happy. Outraged, in fact, and seeking revenge and justice, in that order. He breaks into the Westgate Penitentiary in Tennessee*, to kill Martin Kagan (Michael Shaner), the psychopathic murderer of his sister, Jenny. Kagan has maintained that it was one of his multiple personalities who killed her, not him, and inexplicably he is supported in this by Westgate’s new Assistant Warden, psychologist Dr Alice Barnes (Alex Datcher), who has recently petitioned the Governor to move the resentenced Kagan off Death Row and into a new prototype rehab program for the criminally insane, The Saddle Horse, where he will talk to schoolchildren about stuff. But it just so happens that Lomax’s break-in coincides with a small emergency in the prison, from which nearly all the prisoners have been transferred to a newer prison, and in which Kagan has taken Dr Barnes hostage, shot and killed Warden Munsey (James Brolin) with his own gun, killed several other guards, and has freed all but one of the other condemned men from their cells. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on September 26th, 2016 at 6:00 pm. Updated on September 26th, 2016 at 6:00 pm.
This is a long way from being a prison movie, even though many of its key moments occur in prison. Or more specifically, in two visit rooms in two prisons. And involving just one prisoner. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on September 18th, 2016 at 12:45 pm. Updated on September 18th, 2016 at 12:53 pm.
A teenage thief, Jakub Bartoš (Otakar Prajzner), tells a court that he is the ’sheriff’ or boss of his gang - hoping to both protect and curry favour with its real leader. He gets two years in a youth detention centre but hopes that through good behaviour he might get out in one - and share much sooner in the spoils that the gang has hidden. It doesn’t quite work out that way.
Posted on September 13th, 2016 at 10:16 pm. Updated on September 13th, 2016 at 10:16 pm.
Red Heat has an (undeserved) reputation as an exploitative Women in Prison film. Not surprising, perhaps, given that’s how it’s marketed these days. But its standout feature is not sleaze, but the same sort of xenophobia that characterises prison films like Midnight Express (1978) and In Hell (2003). Who would have thought? Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on September 6th, 2016 at 9:02 pm. Updated on September 6th, 2016 at 9:02 pm.
This is a traditional thriller set in a fairly traditional outer space prison. So it’s only proper that, despite the film being set hundreds of years into the future, the plot turns not on some fanciful 24th Century technology, but on the artisanal searing of a prisoner’s identification number into his flesh with a red hot poker. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on September 1st, 2016 at 10:16 pm. Updated on September 1st, 2016 at 10:16 pm.
The Traveling Executioner depicts what may be the earliest example of outsourcing correctional services; I can’t, off the top of my head, think of an earlier one. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on August 26th, 2016 at 9:51 pm. Updated on August 26th, 2016 at 9:51 pm.
Aiman (Firdaus Rahman) is a prison officer. He is in his late twenties and lives with his older sister, Suhaila (Mastura Ahmad), in a modest flat. He doesn’t approve of her Australian boyfriend, and she doesn’t approve of his job. And she has good reason; their father was convicted of a gruesome murder committed before Aiman was even born, and then hanged. All those years on, it’s still raw. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on August 20th, 2016 at 8:27 pm. Updated on August 20th, 2016 at 11:36 pm.