» Locked Up (2017, USA)

With a bit more imagination this could be a much better film… and still be pretty awful. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on July 14th, 2019 at 1:11 pm. Updated on July 14th, 2019 at 1:15 pm.

» Avengement (2019, UK)

Bronsonesque, I’d say. The same gleeful celebration of violence as the celebrated, violent British biopic Bronson (2009), but with a more noble cause and less theatre. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on July 7th, 2019 at 12:48 pm. Updated on July 7th, 2019 at 12:48 pm.

» Great Escape from Women’s Prison (1976, South Korea / Hong Kong / Taiwan)

Also known as ‘Excessive Torture in a Female Prison Camp’ (as distinct from reasonable, permissible torture, of course), this is a film more about love and patriotism than either escape or torture. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on July 3rd, 2019 at 9:35 pm. Updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 9:45 pm.

» Strike of the Tortured Angels (1982, Hong Kong)

The embedded subtitles on this dubbed-into-English film (at least the version on YouTube) would seem to be a mixture of Danish and Finnish or other Scandinavian languages, which doesn’t seem to make much sense. But then, nor does much else in the film. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on June 30th, 2019 at 5:42 pm. Updated on July 7th, 2019 at 1:01 pm.

» Chasers (1994, USA)

If there were no The Last Detail (1973), this might seem like a different prison-ish road movie. As there is, it’s maybe not so different. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on June 29th, 2019 at 8:07 pm. Updated on June 29th, 2019 at 8:17 pm.

» Tango Libre (2012, France / Belgium / Luxembourg)

Tango Libre - François Damiens as Jean-Christophe (JC)

The tango. Tango libre. Prison. You’d have to say that they are strange bedfellows, but in this beautifully crafted story, full of passion and tenderness and entanglements and implausibility, they fit together very nicely.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on June 9th, 2019 at 3:45 pm. Updated on June 13th, 2019 at 3:46 pm.

» 14 Tage Lebenslänglich / 14 Days to Life (1997, Germany)

14 t - Kai Wiesinger as Konrad von Seidlitz

Cynical, arrogant, foppish star lawyer Konrad von Seidlitz (Kai Wiesinger) engineers a 14 day spell in prison for himself by refusing to pay traffic fines – a stunt to protest being fined in the first place, and to give his legal firm some free publicity (celebrating his act of civil courage). And to demonstrate that he can do time in prison easily. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on June 2nd, 2019 at 3:41 pm. Updated on June 13th, 2019 at 3:42 pm.

» Le fidèle / Racer and the Jailbird (2017, Belgium and others)

Racer and the Jailbird - Matthias Schoenaerts as Gino ('Gigi') Vanoirbeek

I’m not sure now why I thought that this might be a prison movie. The title, maybe. The French title (‘the faithful’) is sober and apposite. The English title has a different tone altogether – wacky, almost, or whimsical. To be clear: it’s not a prison movie, barely managing a few minutes of prison time, and it’s neither wacky nor whimsical. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on May 12th, 2019 at 3:40 pm. Updated on June 13th, 2019 at 3:41 pm.

» Now Barabbas Was a Robber (1949, UK)

Now Barabbas Was a Robber - Stephen Murray as the Padre and Richard Greene as Dick Tufnell

It’s Good Friday as I’m writing this… and pondering, fittingly, the allusion to Barabbas in the title. What can it mean? One thread of the film concerns a man who has mightily affronted the authorities, and whose non-judgmental love for a prostitute has ‘healed’ her. A little familiar, you might think. But there’s no guilty rogue spared here while an innocent man goes to his death; the man awaiting execution is very much guilty (of the premeditated murder of a policeman), and none of those who walk free, or go unpunished, are of Barabbas’s ilk… and nor do they pave the way for the other man’s execution. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on April 30th, 2019 at 3:39 pm. Updated on June 13th, 2019 at 3:40 pm.

» El patio de mi cárcel / My Prison Yard (2008, Spain)

My Prison Yard - Violeta Pérez as Rosa and Verónica Echegui as Isa

I watched this film with, I’m sorry to say, less than perfect comprehension… after the failure of several pathetic attempts to find good English subtitles. I was a little bemused to subsequently find a reference in one review to a duck in the prison, which I thought I’d missed, only to learn that it resulted from the translation of the mistranscribed ‘El pato de mi cárcel’. Sadly, outside of English I am always finding ducks or missing them (whichever is wrong). Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on March 19th, 2019 at 3:38 pm. Updated on June 13th, 2019 at 3:39 pm.