Throughout this quintessentially English television play my mind kept oddly wandering back to that string of South Korean anti-capital punishment movies - like The Executioner (2009) and Harmony (2010) - often featuring kind, reformed, elderly prisoners who present no risk to the community, but who are still destined to be executed. Danny Lee (Tony Selby) is none of those things, but more like Lee Yong-gu in Miracle in Cell No. 7 (2013); an honest, loving and devoted family man, and also a gullible simpleton, around whom this appeal to the emotions in support of the abolition of capital punishment is wrapped after he too is sentenced to death. (more…)
Posted on April 16th, 2017 at 11:14 pm. Updated on April 18th, 2017 at 8:36 pm.
We know that this is a great, real-life story. But why the need to retell it? (more…)
Posted on March 11th, 2017 at 3:49 pm. Updated on March 11th, 2017 at 3:49 pm.
You might expect a range of helpful tips in a prison survival guide. In this slightly offbeat comedy-drama, it seems that there’s just one: buy your way out of trouble. (more…)
Posted on March 6th, 2017 at 4:40 pm. Updated on March 6th, 2017 at 4:40 pm.
That this follows on from my review of Strange Cargo (1940) is pure coincidence, I can assure you, but the two films’ themes are eerily similar. (more…)
Posted on February 28th, 2017 at 8:59 pm. Updated on February 28th, 2017 at 8:59 pm.
Also known as Dark Holiday, this film about an American woman in a Turkish prison invites inevitable comparisons with Midnight Express (1978). But it being about an American held in a Turkish prison is where the similarities begin and end. (more…)
Posted on January 22nd, 2017 at 2:41 pm. Updated on January 22nd, 2017 at 2:41 pm.
According to my DVD player, Vortex is just under 47 minutes long. It is a model of German efficiency; neat, compact, not too showy, solidly constructed. The Volkswagen Golf of sci-fi prison films. But with a few disconcerting surprises, like finding a stranger’s underwear wedged between the seats. (more…)
Posted on November 12th, 2016 at 6:28 pm. Updated on November 12th, 2016 at 6:28 pm.
May Conner (Gail Harris) is 19* and in prison. She’s a Miss Goody Two-Shoes… a little naive when it comes to crime and punishment, and is unused to prison lingo. “They found a second set of finger things.” “Prints,” says her street-wise older sister, April (Annie Wood). “Prints, right.” (more…)
Posted on May 16th, 2016 at 9:59 pm. Updated on July 9th, 2016 at 6:13 pm.
Vendetta has all the standard ’80s trademarks you’d expect - prisoners with big hair and wearing workout gear like they’d just stepped out of a Flashdance or Let’s Get Physical video - but no-one (at least in prison) seems to be held accountable for much. Wasn’t glasnost an ’80s thing? (more…)
Posted on March 21st, 2016 at 8:00 pm. Updated on March 21st, 2016 at 8:00 pm.
I think it was when Warden Harold Bauman (Ron Lacey), in dismissing any idea of his prisoners putting on an artistic performance, said, “They’re not here to have fun. They’re here to be miserable,” that my wife asked, “Don’t you get sick of the same, same things all the time?”. Or it could have been earlier, such as at the arrival of the prisoner who doesn’t deserve to be in prison, or the tough prisoner running the show, or the ineffectual warden and his corrupt second-in-charge, or the earnest counsellor pushing for reform… It could have been at any point in the film, really. (more…)
Posted on November 22nd, 2015 at 5:10 pm. Updated on November 22nd, 2015 at 5:12 pm.
I feel for Dean Cain. I’m sure he wants to play serious prison roles, but in Dogboys (1998) he got to play an ex-Marine fighting killer prison dogs, and in New Alcatraz (2001) he had to play a palaeontologist fighting a giant prehistoric prison snake. Here he gets to play an ex-cop fighting a killer prison giant. (more…)
Posted on September 28th, 2015 at 9:47 pm. Updated on September 28th, 2015 at 9:49 pm.