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. (more…)
Posted on October 21st, 2014 at 9:22 pm. Updated on October 21st, 2014 at 9:22 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.
There is not much that can be said for this other than that it is a singularly distasteful, exploitative film. (more…)
Posted on June 8th, 2014 at 9:41 pm. Updated on June 8th, 2014 at 9:43 pm.
When this opened where I live, it opened, I think, for just one session in one cinema. That might say as much as needs to be said. (more…)
Posted on April 14th, 2014 at 10:56 pm. Updated on April 14th, 2014 at 10:56 pm.
7 Stones is only 46 minutes long. It seems longer. It is a fairly opaque 46 minutes. (more…)
Posted on January 8th, 2014 at 9:50 pm. Updated on January 8th, 2014 at 9:50 pm.
Translating as Ward 72 (or Cell 72), this is an updated version of the 1987 film based on Orhan Kemal’s 1967 play about being imprisoned during his wartime military service in Niğde. If you’re looking for a cheery film to watch, this probably isn’t it. But it’s very much worth watching. (more…)
Posted on December 21st, 2013 at 7:21 pm. Updated on December 21st, 2013 at 7:21 pm.
Three years after The Concrete Jungle was released, a film called Concrete Hell (aka Turning to Stone) hit the cinemas in Canada. There are plenty of parallels between the two, aside from their shared interest in building materials used in prison construction. Both feature young women charged with cocaine importation who are deserted by their male partners and dropped into brutal prisons which are controlled by big-haired queen bees. The Concrete Jungle definitely came first. Turning to Stone is definitely better. (more…)
Posted on November 27th, 2013 at 9:09 pm. Updated on November 27th, 2013 at 9:09 pm.
There is no shortage of messages here. “Prison is a state of mind; the walls, the bars, the locks, the barbed wire,” is the upfront one, direct from director Sananjit Bangsapan. But then the leading lady boasts that ‘Stoicism overcomes all’, and others’ stories remind us that ‘One doesn’t have to be in prison to be imprisoned’. Or for life to be tough, for that matter. And finally we’re cautioned, by one who should know, that ‘Sex causes trouble’. So many messages! So little consequence. (more…)
Posted on November 13th, 2013 at 8:39 pm. Updated on November 13th, 2013 at 9:08 pm.
“Few institutions invented by men are so obviously unsuccessful as prisons,” Christian Broda, Austrian lawyer and politician, is quoted as saying at the very end of Fleischwolf. It is a short film, just 70 minutes, with most of it dedicated to proving the aptness of Broda’s conclusion. (more…)
Posted on September 19th, 2013 at 10:32 pm. Updated on September 19th, 2013 at 10:36 pm.
Also known by the unfortunately dumbed-down title of ‘Concrete Hell‘, this is a nicely-crafted movie that traces the inexorable corruption of a newcomer to prison. It suggests that for her, and for others, there is no escaping being dragged into the brutality of prison life. And that to the uninitiated, prison is a vastly different world, operating under its own rules. At the film’s close, as the newcomer, Allison Campbell (Nicky Guadagni), finally elects to go into 23-hour lockdown in protective custody - the only way she can avoid either becoming inextricably entrenched in the queen bee’s criminal network, or being bashed or stabbed - she wryly reflects on the life ‘in a bubble’ that will be hers for the remainder of her sentence. ”Listen, what are you complaining about?” a guard reproves. “It was your choice.” ”Was it?” says Allison. And that’s clearly the question that we are ultimately asked to answer ourselves. (more…)
Posted on July 16th, 2013 at 9:38 pm. Updated on July 16th, 2013 at 9:38 pm.