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.
This is a short (49-minute) but poignant portrait of a 16-year-old girl in a juvenile detention centre. Perhaps the first thing to note is that ‘vast’ in Dutch does not mean expansive, but rather ‘fixed’ or ’set’; the film deals with her inability to break away from the things that have formed her - to deal with them and attempt to move on. (more…)
Posted on December 16th, 2016 at 8:12 pm. Updated on December 16th, 2016 at 8:12 pm.
“I never realised how much I took freedom for granted until it was taken away.” So says ex-cop, ex-prisoner and narrator Gillian Kaites (Melanie Coll), explaining her lust for freedom. Don’t expect anything deeper. (more…)
Posted on November 1st, 2016 at 9:45 am. Updated on November 1st, 2016 at 11:02 am.
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.
An odd, boring film. Oddly boring. On the basis of a number of reviewers bemoaning the lack of lesbian sex and shower scenes, I thought that this might be a women’s prison movie with something to say. It isn’t and doesn’t. It does, however, aim to educate, giving a helpful rundown on the prisoners’ day and explaining various aspects of prison life - such as that the reception process is known as ‘red fall’ because inmates used to wear red clothing, and that prison food is known as ‘Mossou chow’, a mossou being the bowl from which the food is eaten. These are useful pieces of information. But all this illumination is interrupted by several less edifying and rather tedious sex scenes where the gratuitous wearing of underwear and draped bedclothes adds substantially to the degree of difficulty. And very little else happens in the rest of the film. (more…)
Posted on June 18th, 2016 at 8:57 pm. Updated on June 26th, 2016 at 1:57 pm.
I’m not aware of any other psychology experiment that has spawned three films; I don’t think that poor Ivan Pavlov can boast even one movie, notwithstanding Pavlov’s Dog (2005). And I’m not sure why, after two perfectly sound movies in Das Experiment (2001) and The Experiment (2010), it was seen to be worthwhile to make yet another film based on Dr Philip Zimbardo’s famous 1971 experiment examining the psychology of prison - its impact on prisoners and guards. (more…)
Posted on March 28th, 2016 at 11:59 am. Updated on March 28th, 2016 at 11:59 am.
The first Boys Behind Bars (2013) was a cheap and nasty film saved from being solely an exercise in debasement by an engrossing performance by Wade Radford as the most diabolical of three prisoners who prey on a younger, vulnerable fourth. While Radford reprises his role as Darrell from the original film, this sequel has absolutely nothing to commend or redeem it. It is a very strong contender for the worst prison film I’ve seen. (more…)
Posted on March 14th, 2016 at 4:23 pm. Updated on March 14th, 2016 at 4:32 pm.
A warden with a past he’d rather forget. An idealistic psychiatrist running a new psycho-support program for prisoners. A prison not fit to house prisoners. A wrathful ghost of a former warden. And a film that mixes comedy and horror, but misses the mark on both counts… while remaining sort of amiable. (more…)
Posted on February 15th, 2016 at 1:12 pm. Updated on February 15th, 2016 at 1:25 pm.
It’s been said before that the idea of being thrown into a Turkish prison is so much more evocative than being banged up any other country’s prisons. But just as a foreigner, perhaps, and maybe ignoring a lot of other serious and exotic contenders. Pardon, a farce said to be based on a true story, shows a different sort of terrible experience in a Turkish prison for three locals. (more…)
Posted on January 18th, 2016 at 8:42 pm. Updated on January 18th, 2016 at 8:48 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.