The year is 1910. The West is dying. The American frontier is undergoing a violent transition from the ways of old to modern times, and Mexico has entered a prolonged period of bloody civil... See full summary »
The inmates and guards of a modern, clean and efficient maximum security wing are slowly and increasingly brutalised until they erupt in violence. Dark and macabre, and based in truth, the story is told in a traditional dramatic style combined with telephone interviews and narration. Written by
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As others have said, this is a disturbing and frightening film. For me, it raised questions about exactly who are the barbarians in our "civil" society and at what point can it be said that we are no better than "them".
Some with no knowledge of conditions in modern prisons dismiss this as a brutal movie out for shock value and nothing else, but it is based on a true story. One previous comment says it was filmed in NT (Australia) and based on events that happened in an outback prison. However it was based on the testimony of David Hale, a warder at USP Marion, Illinois, USA, who spoke out about the management tactics and treatment meted out to both prisoners and staff at the prison - tactics which culminated in a lockdown after two people were murdered in one day. When Hale spoke out he was branded a drunk, a drug user and mentally unstable in order to discredit him. (If the soundtrack is still available, it is worth a listen. It features an extensive interview with Hale.)
The cast features four professional actors and two musicians (Cave and The Reels' Dave Mason). The rest are predominantly ex-cons with about a dozen ex-cops, ex-warders and tough types found hanging around in local Melbourne gyms thrown in. It was workshopped for several months before filming began. You will not see a more realistic picture of life in prison - unless you are unfortunate enough to find yourself in one.
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