The Nasty Guard

» The Haunting of Alcatraz (2020, UK)

It’s a huge shame when you set your film in Alcatraz in the 1930s and 40s, only to find that sending your long-haired, bearded actor to the barbershop will blow the entire production budget of £57.99. (more…)

Posted on March 15th, 2021 at 8:18 pm. Updated on March 15th, 2021 at 8:18 pm.

» King of the Damned (1935, UK)

If honourable mentions were handed out for well-meaning prison movies, this might get one. Not because it’s a great film (it’s certainly not that), but because it tries, honourably, to draw parallels between the struggle of prisoners against an oppressive regime, and the struggle of undervalued workers against their oppressive capitalist masters. In the end, sadly, the metaphor detracts from any real impact it makes as a prison drama. (more…)

Posted on March 7th, 2021 at 9:21 pm. Updated on March 7th, 2021 at 9:21 pm.

» Fanged Up (2017, UK)

I think that this is the first romantic comedy I’ve seen where the couple spend a fair whack of the film drenched in the blood of exploding vampires. I may be wrong. (more…)

Posted on January 27th, 2021 at 10:46 pm. Updated on January 27th, 2021 at 10:46 pm.

» Pacto de Fuga / Jailbreak Pact (2020, Chile)

Tunnelling movies? We have them in spades. Here is another one, and a good one at that. (more…)

Posted on January 16th, 2021 at 10:39 pm. Updated on January 16th, 2021 at 10:39 pm.

» Brothers (1977, USA)

This is a ‘thinly disguised’ account of the prison life of Soledad Brother George Jackson, part of which takes in his romance with activist Angela Davis. It’s an unheralded ’70s prison movie that deserves more heralding, even if it loses a bit of momentum once prisoner and professor meet and start cheesily narrating their letters to each other accompanied by a laid-back R&B soundtrack. (more…)

Posted on December 27th, 2020 at 3:29 pm. Updated on December 27th, 2020 at 3:29 pm.

» Jailbreak (1936, USA)

If it weren’t for the fact that the dead body doesn’t materialise until the 34th minute of this 60-minute movie, this could be a classic whodunnit – there’s a cop prone to overstepping the mark and barking up the wrong tree, a brash investigative reporter cast in the Miss Marple role, the requisite number of shifty-looking suspects, and plenty of red herrings. Mind you, I can’t remember Miss Marple ever having a love interest. (more…)

Posted on August 8th, 2020 at 11:46 am. Updated on August 8th, 2020 at 11:46 am.

» Femmine in Fuga / Women in Fury  (1984, Italy / Brazil)

This is based on a true story. Allegedly. A beautiful young woman, Angela Duvall (Suzane Carvalho), stupidly takes the rap for her morally dissolute, heroin-addled brother, Sergio, who has killed a drug pusher. A third man at the scene would seem to have much to lose should Angela identify him, and he evidently has lots of friends in high-up places who can make life difficult for her. She is given 18 years in the nick, and thrown to the wolves. (more…)

Posted on May 30th, 2020 at 5:59 pm. Updated on May 30th, 2020 at 5:59 pm.

» Shaun the Sheep (2015, UK / France / USA)

1. I know it’s not a prison movie; the prisonny bits are not the main game. 2. I know that prisonny bits are not exactly prison, either; the pedantic would call it an animal containment centre, or pound, or shelter for lost, seized and abandoned (read ‘socially disadvantaged’) animals. 3. I don’t care. The containment centre is a prison and is full of wonderful prison clichés. But I do have to admit that it’s a little unusual for a jailer to personally pursue his detainees after they have escaped. (more…)

Posted on April 11th, 2020 at 11:10 pm. Updated on April 11th, 2020 at 11:10 pm.

» The Forgiven (2017, UK)

From a distance, the post-apartheid South Africa after Nelson Mandela was elected in 1994 appeared to be an exemplar of how two sides of a civil war might be united. Its Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) appeared a model for how a new democratic government might deal with human rights violations perpetrated by both sides, the oppressors and the oppressed, and from that build an inclusive future for all. Up a weeny bit closer, The Forgiven shows some of the fragility of that new order as it seeks to establish itself; the persistence of deep-seated racism, the attempts to undermine the process, and the toll taken on the TRC as it bore the weight of expectations from both the black and white communities. Oh, and all of that in prison. (more…)

Posted on April 3rd, 2020 at 8:59 pm. Updated on April 3rd, 2020 at 9:06 pm.

» The Informer (2019, UK)

The Informer has a little more complexity than most action thrillers. But not so much that it explains why IMDb’s précis (“An ex-convict working undercover intentionally gets himself incarcerated again in order to infiltrate the mob at a maximum security prison”) pretty much misses the point entirely. ‘Intentionally gets himself incarcerated’, yes, but he returns to prison extremely reluctantly, and only when two figurative guns are pointed at his head – one by the mob and the other by the FBI. (more…)

Posted on February 15th, 2020 at 8:22 pm. Updated on February 15th, 2020 at 8:22 pm.