The Stabbing

» Incoming (2018, USA / Serbia)

So… In a rare show of unity, all the world powers agree on imprisoning and torturing six men suspected of being members of the terrorist group Wolf Pack, which has claimed responsibility for the bombings of Big Ben, the Colosseum, and the Taj Mahal, just to name a few. It’s agreed that they will be detained in a top secret black site, in order that they might be interrogated to give up the name and the whereabouts of their leader. Rather than find some non-partisan and accessible part of the world in which to locate their prison, they set it up on a space station and leave one erratic British man, on his own, in charge of, well… everything. Makes perfect sense. (more…)

Posted on October 30th, 2020 at 10:49 pm. Updated on October 30th, 2020 at 10:49 pm.

» Penguins Behinds Bars (2003, Canada)

At last! A prison movie that knows its plaice! (more…)

Posted on August 19th, 2020 at 10:20 pm. Updated on August 19th, 2020 at 10:20 pm.

» La Taularde / Jailbirds (2015, France / Belgium)

“You’re the one who chose prison. Now own it,” Chief Guard Elise Schoelcher (Marie-Sohna Condé) tells Mathilde Leroy (Sophie Marceau), who is desperately keen to be relieved of her edgy cellmate. It’s fair advice in the circumstances. (more…)

Posted on June 23rd, 2020 at 10:03 pm. Updated on June 23rd, 2020 at 10:03 pm.

» 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.

» El hoyo / The Platform (2019, Spain)

There are few prison movies as patently and transparently allegorical as this. In fact, I can’t bring another to mind that comes close. And it’s almost as hard to think of a movie prison that shares fewer features with prisons as we know them; but an intriguing prison it is. (more…)

Posted on May 11th, 2020 at 10:31 pm. Updated on May 11th, 2020 at 10:42 pm.

» Convict (2014, Egypt)

If it helps avoid confusion with the disappointing Australian film also named Convict (and also released in 2014), Google suggests that the Arabic title for this film – currently available on Netflix – translates as ‘What are you, prisons?’. That might not help much, but it’s a fair question. (more…)

Posted on April 12th, 2020 at 2:17 pm. Updated on April 12th, 2020 at 2:17 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.

» Alcatraz (2018, UK / USA)

This latest Alcatraz film is ‘inspired by real events’. It is low budget and low on authenticity. It is also, sadly, at the low end of the interest scale. (more…)

Posted on February 24th, 2020 at 6:49 pm. Updated on February 24th, 2020 at 6:49 pm.

» Gefangen / Locked Up (2004, Germany)

For years I avoided this movie, aware that there was a hardcore version, Eingelocht, and fearful that this less graphic version would still be an inane, plotless vehicle for gratuitous ‘erotic’ scenes – like so many WIP movies. The good news is that while it boasts shower scenes and a strip search and a rape and a stabbing in the anus and some consensual sex, it’s mostly in context. Sort of. The not-so-good news is that it is pretty much plotless, much of the acting is abysmal, and it is immediately forgettable. (more…)

Posted on December 9th, 2019 at 1:06 pm. Updated on December 9th, 2019 at 1:16 pm.

» The Number (2017, South Africa)

The Number is based on Jonny Steinberg’s non-fiction book of the same name, based in turn on interviews with Magadien Wentzel, a former high-ranking 28s gang member who served time in the Pollsmoor Prison in Cape Town. Both inside and outside jail, Wentzel has, it seems, so far defied the gang’s dictum that the only way out is through death.  The film sheds light on the mysterious workings of the brutal, ritualistic, militaristic prison gangs in South Africa which maintain their traditions of well over a hundred years… and from which Magadien decides to walk away rather than see his son follow the same path. (more…)

Posted on November 23rd, 2019 at 8:27 pm. Updated on November 23rd, 2019 at 8:27 pm.