The Stabbing

» The Mustang (2019, USA / France / Belgium)

I’m not really interested in the nags, despite my great-grandfather having been a highly respected horse-breaker, and like Dr Paul Gendreau I’m a little sceptical of the direct impact that animal programs have on recidivism, no matter what amazing things they can do for the prison environment. But this evocative, beautifully shot film brings two old-fashioned occupations – horse-breaker and criminal – together in splendid fashion, and no-one really gives a toss whether there are fewer criminals in the world because some have learned to break horses. (more…)

Posted on September 3rd, 2019 at 9:31 pm. Updated on September 3rd, 2019 at 9:31 pm.

» P Storm (2019, Hong Kong / China)

The fourth movie in the Storm franchise [following on from Z Storm (2014), S Storm (2016), L Storm (2018), from which I have been successfully sheltered in each case, and not counting the yet-to-be-released G Storm], this again features William Luk Chi Lim (Louis Koo) as a super-committed investigator from Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).  (more…)

Posted on August 27th, 2019 at 9:57 pm. Updated on August 27th, 2019 at 10:10 pm.

» The Meanest Man in Texas (2017, USA)

It’s an extraordinary story, this one: based on the real-life story of Clyde Thompson who collected three life sentences, found God in jail, and became a prison chaplain after his release. Maybe because it’s sympathetic to him from the outset, maybe because it is so mindful of its likely audience that the portrayal of his pre-redemption ugliness is never too graphic, or maybe because Clyde never looks anything but boyish – but the message of his transformation is not as powerful as you might imagine; preaching to the converted has its downside. (more…)

Posted on August 5th, 2019 at 9:05 pm. Updated on August 5th, 2019 at 9:05 pm.

» Escape Plan: The Extractors (2019, USA)

The third in the Ray Breslin Escape Plan series, this represents a major departure from the others; while the first two relied on his famed security expertise to be able to find the flaws in even the highest-tech, most secure prisons, this one takes him to an old-school, low-tech prison (played by the dilapidated Ohio State Reformatory, built in 1886) to rescue the kidnapped daughter of a Chinese technology tycoon. (more…)

Posted on July 24th, 2019 at 9:27 pm. Updated on July 24th, 2019 at 9:38 pm.

» Locked Up (2017, USA)

With a bit more imagination this could be a much better film… and still be pretty awful. (more…)

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. (more…)

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. (more…)

Posted on July 3rd, 2019 at 9:35 pm. Updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 9:45 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. (more…)

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

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

» The Jail of No Return (1994, Hong Kong)

The Jail of No Return - Little Blackness on the bamboo bed

At first blush, this is a wacky story of an island prison somewhere in Asia, ruled by a maniacal American, and featuring much creative brutality and some innovative implements of torture; the sort of film to which adolescents might be attracted. It was a bit of a surprise to learn later that it is based on a true story from the 1960s: that of the experimental penal colony Pulau Senang, just off the coast of Singapore, and the riot which led to its closure. (more…)

Posted on February 15th, 2019 at 3:32 pm. Updated on June 14th, 2019 at 8:37 pm.