This is the hard and shocking story of life in a British Borstal for young offenders. Luckily the regime has changed since this film was made. The brutal regime made no attempt to reform or... See full summary »
Trevor is a 16 year old, sometimes-violent skinhead with no regard for authority, and would rather spend his time stealing cars than sitting in the detention centre to which he is sent. His... See full summary »
Two girls escape from an open borstal for two very different reasons; Annetta to attempt to visit her baby daughter, who is being raised in a convent; and Carol, who hopes to be recaptured ... See full summary »
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This is the hard and shocking story of life in a British borstal for young offenders. Luckily the regime has changed since this TV film was made. The brutal regime made no attempt to reform... See full summary »
'John McVicar' was a London Bad Boy. he graduated to armed bank robbery and was Britain's "Public Enemy No. 1". He was captured and put into a high security prison. Will even the highest ... See full summary »
This is the hard and shocking story of life in a British Borstal for young offenders. Luckily the regime has changed since this film was made. The brutal regime made no attempt to reform or improve the inmates and actively encouraged a power struggle between the 'tough' new inmate and the 'old hands'. The film was originally made as a BBC play but it was banned before ever being shown. So 'Alan Clarke' and 'Roy Minton' got it re-made as a film. This is a tough and brutal film and should not be viewed lightly. Written by
Steve Crook <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In Britain circa 1980, there was a lot of hope placed by the new Conservative government in the recipe of the "short sharp shock" as the ideal way to deal with young offenders. This faith, of course, reflected a dream that the problems of society can be addressed through the fair application of discipline (and the illusion that discipline can ever be applied fairly). In the real world, prisons don't work. However much non-prisoners may be afraid of them, once inside, most become institutionalised and accustomed to their environments; of course they act as schools for crime; and treating people like animals is hardly likely to turn them into civilised humans. Perhaps worst of all is the fact that all power rests on a mixture of violence and consent, and the power of the prison officers is thus crucially dependent on their forming an alliance with the nastiest, most violent of prisoners. Welcome to the world of 'Scum'!.
The late Alan Clarke had a reputation for making television dramas of searing intensity. This background is apparent in 'Scum', which is directed in a flat, no-nonsense style. But it rings with horrific truth in a way that other prison dramas (like 'The Shawshank Redemption') do not: there's no redemption here, only the brutality of a nightmare world where everything civil has been lost. One typical detail is the recreation the officers arrange for the prisoners: basically just an organised fight, to release their energy and aggression in controlled circumstances. Clarke also had a reputation for discovering talent, and a young Ray Winstone made his name here, playing a "Daddy" only slightly less nasty than his predecessor. The sense of reality means the rape scene is still powerful, even in an age where such material is routinely handled much more explicitly.
'Scum' is powerful stuff, and a voice on behalf of the young and powerless (who continue to commit suicide in Britain's jails at an alarming rate). It also makes one think about the very nature of power (the way of governor remains personally "civilised", while presiding over his brutal staff, is truly telling). Recommended.
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