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America's Deadliest Prison Gang (2007)

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Mark Halliley ...
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Documentary

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July 2007 (UK)  »

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Not that great as a documentary but still eye-opening, shocking and interesting
10 September 2007 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

As the title suggests this film explores the world of the Aryan Brotherhood within the North American prison system. The film looks back at the development of the gang and charts its rise to vicious power and the investigation that sought to bring down as many of the leaders as possible. As such the film does a good job of presenting how violent and intelligent the gang is and it never allows us just to see these guys as white racists, no, that would be far too simple.

At times it does lean towards sensationalism rather than being an interesting documentary but mostly it does just about stay on the latter and not the former. I was disappointed though that there was not more debate or exploration of the issues – even if it woven into the material as an aside. Despite this though the film makes good use of contributions from the law enforcement agencies and of course members/former-members of the brotherhood themselves. I though the archive footage and the recreations were a bit heavy-handed as well. OK a couple of plays for a violent stabbing pretty much shows the viewer what we're dealing with here, but to see loads of them over and over perhaps suggests that you're just giving the viewer real life murder to watch? Not a brilliant documentary then mainly because it didn't explore the subject that well in regards the wider issues and moving past the obvious. However as an glance into the violent world of the US prison system and organised gang it is eye-opening, interesting and shocking.


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