This film gives us insights into the value of freedom from the point of view of the long-time prisoner, and psychological mechanisms by which such prisoners attempt to deal with their plights, including at least one on death row. If you know someone you think might be headed for a life of crime, this should be your Christmas gift to them. Might even be required viewing for the unruly adolescent boys in the family. This film would likely make one think twice or three times before committing a felony. The value of not being in prison has never been more clear to me.
The warden comes across as a pretty interesting character. We see an actual parole board hearing, which is fascinating, as well as a hearing before a board of pardons. Therein lie some interesting insights into the victims' perspectives, which contrast sharply with the perspectives of the prisoners, and even that of the prison warden.
It gives only a very faint outline of some portions of the history and structure of the Angola prison. Angola is not what this film is really about.
Very well edited to tell a good story, never boring and not too long, and at the very least will make you appreciate not being in prison like no other film I have ever seen. A great documentary and a testament to the potentially life-altering power of film.
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