Critic Reviews



Based on 13 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
A compelling, highly charged film that brings a contemporary perspective to classic prison picture elements.
Film explores the abuses rampant in woman's prisons and the powerlessness of the inmates, while telling the uplifting story of one inmate, Frances (LisaRae).
The Hollywood Reporter
Although the film loses its way in the late going with a preponderance of melodramatic elements that dilute the more compelling social message, for much of its running time it packs a visceral punch, thanks in large part to a strong cast headed by LisaRaye, N'Bushe Wright and Mos Def.
There are also strong flickers here of a film that might have been.
There's way too much of the usual bonding, beatings, petty humiliation by guards, cat fights in the yard and trips to the hole.
There's no question that Civil Brand has an ambitious premise, but it feels boxed in by the standard prison-movie formula.
New York Daily News
Exploitation shamelessly posing as empowerment, Neema Barnette's self-congratulatory drama about women in prison promises to reveal shocking truths.
The New York Times
Before Civil Brand erupts into over-the-top melodrama (which is pretty early), it shows some interest in its characters, and in its less screechy moments the dialogue has the rough, bantering ring of actual speech.
The cast includes rappers Da Brat, Mos Def and MC Lyte. Their fans might get some pleasure from Civil Brand. Everybody else best stay away.
Village Voice
Without a scorcher like Pam Grier, the sub-NYPD Blue dialogue and acting dilute what could have been a shrieking wake-up call about for-profit prisons.

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