The Strip Search

» Starred Up (2013, UK)

Starred Up - Jack O'Connell asEric Love

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.

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Posted on August 30th, 2014 at 4:38 pm. Updated on August 30th, 2014 at 4:38 pm.

» Prison (1988, USA)

Prison - Ivan Kane as Joe 'Lasagna' Lazzaro and Viggo Mortensen as Burke

I put off watching this movie for years, thinking for some reason that - despite its title - it had not much to do with prison, a little like Ingmar Bergman’s 1949 film of the same name. That was a little foolish, in retrospect, a bit like expecting no music in The Sound of Music or no dogs in Reservoir Dogs. (more…)

Posted on August 1st, 2014 at 9:11 pm. Updated on August 1st, 2014 at 9:11 pm.

» The King of Jail Breakers (2009, Japan)

The King of Jail Breakers - Itsuji Itao as Masayuki Suzuki

I can’t recall another prison movie in which the main character says not a word throughout the whole film. Well, not one made after 1929, anyway. (more…)

Posted on July 11th, 2014 at 8:59 pm. Updated on July 11th, 2014 at 8:59 pm.

» Jailbait (2013, USA)

Jailbait - Sara Malakul Lane as Anna Nix

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.

» Convict (2014, Australia)

Convict - George Basha as Ray Francis

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.

» Women in Chains (1972, USA)

Women in Chains - Lois Nettleton as Sandra Parker / Sally Porter and Belinda Montgomery as Melinda Carr

This (along with several other contenders) could serve as a baseline against which all women’s prison movies are measured. It’s far from great, and far from terrible. It’s camp, but not too camp. Well, it’s over-the-top camp at times. It has a brave heroine, a particularly nasty villain, plenty of true-to-life prisoners who have no wish to fly above the radar, some drama… and, presumably because it’s made-for-TV and it’s 1972, a surfeit of beautiful women but no shower scenes, lesbian scenes, or lascivious male officers. What’s more, it stars two prison movie greats: Ida Lupino (Women’s Prison, 1955) and Barbara Luna (The Concrete Jungle, 1982). (more…)

Posted on February 4th, 2014 at 8:18 pm. Updated on February 8th, 2014 at 7:45 pm.

» Fugitive Rage (1996, USA)

Fugitive Rage - and Wendy Schumacher as Tara McCormick

You know to lower your expectations when movies are straight-to-video, as this one is. But no matter how low your expectations, this film, also known as ‘Caged Fear‘, will in all probability fall below them. (more…)

Posted on December 15th, 2013 at 9:09 pm. Updated on December 15th, 2013 at 9:09 pm.

» Human Experiments (1979, USA)

Human Experiments - Linda Haynes as Rachel Foster

I’ve watched lots of prison movies; lots of similar stories and similar themes. But none, I think, quite like this. (more…)

Posted on September 28th, 2013 at 10:30 pm. Updated on September 28th, 2013 at 10:30 pm.

» Fleischwolf / Meatgrinder (1990, Austria)

Fleischwolf - Maximilan Mller as Mario (centre) with Christopher Heinz as Karli Knigsdofer behind him to the left

“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.

» The Rat Tamer (1995, Australia)

The Rat Tamer - Deborra-Lee Furness as Louisa Corelli

Back in 2006 this was released as a movie on DVD. It had been Hugh Jackman’s first major screen role a decade or more earlier, and the marketers were no doubt looking to cash in on his X-Men fame. Yet it’s not a movie at all, but rather the unedited (and conveniently feature-length) first episode of the Correlli TV series, masquerading as something else. (more…)

Posted on July 29th, 2013 at 11:03 pm. Updated on August 3rd, 2013 at 8:47 pm.