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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

DETENTION is a compelling independent film.

Author: wilkinso from Fort Worth, Texas
30 August 1999

With his latest film, Andy Anderson proves once again that an engaging, entertaining movie can be made on a modest budget. Mainstream Hollywood movies have become increasingly predictable, but not Anderson's work. He swims in his own private river where quirkiness and surprises abound.

Is DETENTION a comedy? Black comedy? Social drama? Thriller? Don't even attempt to apply a label until you've watched this movie to the very end. This is part of the film's allure. It can't be categorized by genre.

DETENTION is a unique, satisfying film. It takes the viewer on a thought-provoking, thrill ride that won't soon be forgotten.

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10 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Diamond in the rough

Author: Jon Kalb
27 January 2004

This film was obviously made on the cheap, but its low production values didn't prevent me from enjoying it. It is a dark comedy that is quirky and funny, but has enough of a hard edge to keep it out of the mainstream.

The movie is about a man that has accepted a teaching job at a high school where the students are out of control. What he decides to do about it is technically child abuse, but is fun and fascinating to watch.

"You my be right, but I may be crazy..."

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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Hilarious and horrific satire

Author: (Massimo-4) from San Francisco, CA
20 March 2000

In the opening scene of this dark satire, a panning camera finds a man sitting alone in a room of fading photographs and antiques. A telephone rings. He picks it up just as men sent to take him to a mental institution are knocking at his door. His choice, to take a job as a substitute teacher, sets off an intriguing and provocative tale that takes us through deft riffs on Clockwork Orange, Blackboard Jungle, Heart of Darkness, Kafka, and Jonathan Swift, and I am not just dropping names; a meaningful discussion of this complex film would include all of these influences. What appears to be a conventional, yet both disturbing and comic, story about an idealistic instructor's attempts to reform wayward youth takes a startling turn and confronts the viewer with questions of the basic worth of human selfhood and dignity. Anyone concluding that the film espouses a certain "solution" should look for the irony and keep in mind that the director himself referenced Swift's "Modest Proposal" at a recent post-screening discussion. General release in August

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8 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Wonderful Gritty Teacher's Fantasy

Author: Jon-Carl Lewis from Albuquerque, NM
26 May 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

As a person who works with kids with behavior problems, and am starting to teach special education, this movie provided a great, guilty, cathartic escape.

I thoroughly enjoyed the humorous but dead-on portrayals of the various problems with teaching "problem kids", and I really enjoyed seeing the kids get to find themselves when literally stripped of the distractions of material culture.

I found that the language and disturbing situations in the school were not very far off from my experiences in the classroom and hallways. I really have known homeless students. I really have known kids who went out on their own because a parent overdosed and died.

And, on the fantasy end, it was interesting to see the extreme application of brainwashing for a startling new effect. Sure, some scenes stretched credulity... (How do you pretend to shoot a student at point blank range without really killing them?) but I found it great entertainment with a deep truth to the core message of the film.

Although the production quality on the VHS I bought was poor, I intend on buying the DVD so I can watch my favorite scenes - the art scenes and the Heart of Darkness scene - repeatedly.

What a wonderful guilty pleasure. I plan on watching it while grading papers several times a semester!

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10 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Hard to find...but worth it

Author: mjm3333333
22 November 2004

I saw this one but it had been renamed "Learning Curve" and it's pretty hard to find. Still, it's worth the search if you like cute nymphettes running around in terror with very few clothes on. The cinematography is moody and atmospheric which lends extra punch to the suspense. The actors aren't stars, but most of the main leads have a charismatic charm that plays well in a movie like this. The only thing I wasn't crazy about was the sound editing. In places it was hard to hear some of the dialog but it might just be the print I had. This movie actually has a taut plot, too, so it's not just valuable for its erotic qualities. Maybe I'm no highbrow cinema critic, but I know what I like. This movie was hot, fun and easy to get into.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A brilliant dark comedy, not to be missed.

Author: Wehner from Kansas City
29 April 1999

"Detention" is a film that's as smart as it is entertaining. The dialogue puts the contrived clichés of the average Hollywood films to shame, while the cleaver plot twist keep the audience guessing right to the pictures end. (Stay for the credits) Andy Anderson and his mostly young cast confront the question of school violence and the crisis in our schools head-on in this dark comedy. The role of Bill Walmsley, played by John S. Davies, is a signature performance of a teacher who still manages to care in an impossible situation, maybe way too much. This is truly independent film, made for all the right reasons. Anderson is a teacher, and his passionate concern for students and education comes shining through in this brilliant comedy. This film places him solidly at the fore-front of current independent writer/directors and hopefully this film will be given the audience it richly deserves.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Brainwashed by Education

Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
25 October 2007

After some personal trauma, Wilson Walmsley (John S. Davies) is invited to work as a substitute teacher in a suburban public high school. He finds lack of authority and interest in the school direction and teacher body; uncontrolled and abusive students in an environment of disrespect and lack of discipline. He becomes close to the arts teacher Louise (Marsha Dietlein) and to the smart and abused student Joey (Forest Denbow). When he saves Louise from a sexual assault of the student Davey (Meason Wiley), Louise and he are sued by Davey's family lawyer; then Davey's girlfriend beats Louise. The upset Walmsley lures, drugs and kidnaps Joey and six troublemakers of his class and brings them to his isolate real estate in Alpine, Texas. When the seven students wake up, they are naked and caged in cages with electric fences. When Walmsley arrives, he advises that his class will begin, and any disrespect or lack of discipline will be duly punished, and shots Joey to make clear his intentions. And the class begins.

"Detention" is a surprisingly great low budget movie. The theme of a new arrival teacher in a school with troublemakers was originally explored in the masterpiece "To Sir With Love"; more recently I recall the good "Dangerous Minds", the reasonable "The Substitute" and some others. However, "Detention" uses in addition the concept of "The Collector", but with a teacher that seems to become temporarily deranged and resolves to brainwash the problematic students of his class with education and good manners. The final situation is predictable, and the greatest flaw in the plot is how he could afford to buy a trailer with a car if he seemed to be broken when he accepted the invitation and was stolen with only four dollars in the wallet. However, Walmsley is a mystery, since his private life, his trauma and his motives are never disclosed to the audience, only for Louise but in private. I liked his explanation how people is brainwashed everywhere and the mission of a teacher, therefore better off by a teacher. The acting is excellent and this film is a great entertainment. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Enjaulados" ("Caged")

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Worth watching

Author: raptors2 from Livermore, CA
2 December 2003

I have to admit that this did not turn out to be what I expected it to be. It was actually better. The script is well done and provides enough substance to make it worth watching. For the most part it is a believable story. The acting is not bad for the relatively unknown cast. If you are looking for something different, this is it.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Brilliant dark comedy

Author: Alonso Duralde from Monster Island
7 January 2000

A hilarious satire of contemporary education and today's coddled youth, this little-seen comedy rates as a real triumph for writer/director Anderson (whose "Positive ID" was pretty terrific, too).

Good luck finding it, though -- after some festivals, it's kind of disappeared.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Dante's Independent School District

Author: Mason West ( from San Marcos, Texas
16 October 1999

The advance reviews of writer & director Andy Anderson's Detention prepared me for a '90s version of To Sir with Love, and indeed, the first part of this film is along that line, except that now we have not only uncontrollable kids but an adminstration that has lost the will and the power to do anything about them. The teachers are bound by political correctness, a starvation budget, fear of lawsuits, and a thousand other plagues on the education system. Even Sidney Poitier would be helpless were he bound this tightly by a legal system gone mad.

I kept waiting for Bill Walmsley, the hero teacher of this movie, confidently played by John Davies, to work the Stand and Deliver miracle, but it doesn't come, and the movie slows, when suddenly Walmsley tries an approach that rips the conventions right out from under this movie. No, this isn't To Sir with Love or Stand and Deliver or even The Dead Poets Society. Yet in one fell swoop, the movie becomes darkly funny while raising some serious questions about how difficult public education is in a world run by lawyers. It's a sure sign of how crazy the education system has become when the craziest arguments for reform make the most sense I've heard in years.

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