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.
It might not be perfectly sensible to liken a person unable to escape bullying to a person trapped in prison. The bullied Sean Randall chose the one way he thought he could fight his way out of feeling that trapped. Then he went to prison and was bullied there, too. So he wanted out, desperately, but on being released was subject to restrictions that made him feel he was back in prison. Tricky.
Posted on August 4th, 2015 at 9:16 pm. Updated on August 4th, 2015 at 9:16 pm.
OK, OK… like the odd filmed play or opera about prison on DVD, this might not strictly fit the definition of a prison movie. But it’s not so different to many movies that are filmed in studios with disjointed plots, shoddy sets and stagy dialogue. (more…)
Posted on August 2nd, 2015 at 8:18 pm. Updated on September 19th, 2015 at 10:45 pm.
You know how sometimes one scene or one line in a movie just loses you, and you can’t find a way back in? Early in Rise nurse Will McIntyre (Nathan Wilson) is falsely accused of spiking the drink of and then raping a girl with whom he has had a one night stand. At his trial, the prosecutor asks the victim to tell the court what happened next. Falteringly, she begins with, “He had my arms pressed under…” and McIntyre’s barrister jumps up and interjects, “Your Honour, this is all hearsay evidence!” Eh? Really? (more…)
Posted on July 19th, 2015 at 1:38 pm. Updated on July 19th, 2015 at 1:42 pm.
Roby Schmucker (Bruno Cathomas) has found himself back in jail, again. He is awaiting trial on a ‘heavy’ robbery, and on Day 1 in the mess room is confronted by the prison’s top dog, African-Swiss Charles ‘Chief’ Müller (Kyle Popooda). Schmucker doesn’t appreciate Müller’s welcome and makes some unkind comments about his ethnicity. It’s not received well. One of Müller’s men spits in Schmucker’s food, onto which Müller then empties an entire salt cellar. Schmucker sticks it out for another mouthful or two but then launches into a face-saving rant: “Chicken Mexicaine! This muck’s called Chicken Mexicaine!” before reminding everyone that he’s an old hand. It’s a quirky, off-beat title for one of the wackier, more off-beat prison movies. (more…)
Posted on January 27th, 2015 at 8:38 pm. Updated on January 27th, 2015 at 8:50 pm.
There are private prisons, and then there are private prisons. (more…)
Posted on November 3rd, 2014 at 6:37 pm. Updated on November 5th, 2014 at 7:49 pm.
It’s 1847, and juvenile offenders, waifs and strays are being transferred from La Roquette children’s prison in Paris to the Colonie de Grande-Île in Brittany. It’s a “Fatherly Home, not a penal colony,” insists the reform school’s idealistic warden, Monsieur Alexis (André Wilms). And to underscore the homeliness, his deputy (Michel Aumont) is required to be referred to as Uncle and all the other staff are known as Cousins. It all sounds really very jolly. (more…)
Posted on October 26th, 2014 at 3:45 pm. Updated on October 27th, 2014 at 7:50 pm.
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 January 1st, 2017 at 9:03 am.
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.
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.
Posted on August 30th, 2014 at 4:38 pm. Updated on August 30th, 2014 at 4:38 pm.