Civil Brand (2002) Poster

(2002)

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7/10
What's news about a WIP?
Artemis-911 May 2006
Women In Prison films are standard fare for the entertainment of mainly boozed up, lurid male audiences, featuring (1) cat-fight; (2) almost nude gals in isolation; (3) sexual harassment of inmates; (4) brutal guards; (5) rape; (6) riot; (7) revenge on the (8) corrupt warden and superior officers. WIP are usually low budgeted, filmed with poorly paid crew and very small cast.

Guess what? You've all the required items, the film was made on a stringy budget and a dozen actors, one of them doubling as stunt choreographer, who 'gets shot' without putting up a fight! So why is all the uproar? Plenty of (lurid?) viewers complaining that it's a BAD BAD FILM, and plenty of established critics complaining that it's a BAD BAD FILM...

Because this film was made (as the director explains in detail in the voice on commentary in the DVD version) from a critical, very political view point, exposing as well as it can the link between Politics, Economics, and Prisons. Even without being corrupt, a prison's system exploited like a private business - as it is perfectly legal in some countries, like the U.S. of A. - may, and eventually does, as historic cases prove, end up in being a monstrous creation.

That the director was naif, and tried to put to many ideas and characters in at the same time, ending with a couple of loose ends, it's a pity. DaBrat is not the best narrator to keep an audience interested, in a film with not much screen action; Tichina Arnold should be meaner as Aisha the bad girl, yet she provokes a good fight on the gravel yard of this urban prison; woman sarge Cervantes looks sexy enough to liven things up - but her character is underdeveloped in the (cut to 91m though R rated) DVD version; LisaRaye is OK as the taller new girl, but lacks experience, and it shows, in several crucial moments.

The music is new, and at times inspired, by Mandrill. The exposé of established facts will be valuable for audiences who wish to get a larger view than the telly gives them. Supporting cast has good performances by Clifton Powell (justly awarded), Reed McCants, and best for last, the beautiful and definitely the best actress of the pen, N'Bushe Wright. (I'm closing this comment and go searching for other films with her.)
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better than some
kj_iyapo6 June 2004
wow some people really chewed this one up and spit it out. but come on there are independent movies out there that are so bad you'd like to ask for your money back. i think this film was better than some and the fact that all the actors did a good job made it even better. that whole all star cast thing is usually a disappointment. but gee must we nit pick so much. the plot and the script were good. to say our people are putting out doo doo in plastic cases that you can rent from the video store and suggesting that this film is one of them is crazy. i mean sankofa was cheezy but it got a point across. we need to stop looking for things to stick to a formula for it to get our approval. let art be art. its late and i just finished watching this film. there's a dope line at the end by n'bushe wright. and monica calhoun is coming up. i think people should see this film for the issue behind the story. and because someone took the time to make it. it is an independent film for a reason. i'm out rent the movie post a comment. everyone is able to have their opinion. peace
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A film worth watching
jazni24 February 2004
As others have stated, there is a backstory to Civil Brand that is probably more dramatic than the film itself. To sum it up in as few words as possible: Black women directors have a difficult road to travel to see a feature film made.

The film is definitely not a masterpiece, but the attempt at telling a story about African American women in prison is a great one. The film makes a point of comparing prison labor to US Slavery--and for good reason, it is certainly free labor, with poor working conditions.

The narration by Da Brat is overkill, but because many scenes were never filmed, I'm sure it was an attempt to make the story cohesive. Lisa Raye was surprisingly decent and Monica Calhoun and Lark Voorhies did what they could with their supporting roles, but N'Bushe Wright was one of the most interesting characters to watch. She has great screen presence and excellent delivery. Hopefully we're able to see more of her.

Civil Brand is not a great movie. It's filled with stereotypes and cliches--but it does bring a new and interesting point of view on women in prison. It's definitely worth renting or catching on television.
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8/10
Not just a great movie, but an extremely important one.
jakemcgee12 August 2003
CIVIL BRAND is a story which tells of a women's prison in which the inmates are forced to work as slaves, and are exploited as little more than animals. True, we've all seen this in SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, where convicts are put to physical labor, but it's always been presented as an acceptable situation. A man robs a store and kills the clerk, so why not have him pound out license plates and working on road construction crews?

CIVIL BRAND offers a fresh look at the Prison-Industrial Complex, attacking the issue from several different angles. For one thing, the inmates aren't working on roads or some kind of community service- they're making clothes for department stores. A more provocative approach, though, is the fact that these slaves are female, a scenario that folks are not used to considering. Outstanding performances by LisaRaye, Mos Def, Clifton Powell, MC Lyte, Monica Calhoun, Lark Voorhies, and the sensational N'Bushe Wright (the lady Panther from DEAD PRESIDENTS who is one of the most talented people acting in Cinema today, not to mention drop-dead gorgeous), powerful cinematography, and brutal honesty come together to make CIVIL BRAND not just a great movie, but an extremely important one.

(c) Jake McGee - Get Underground
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4/10
I 've Seen Better
lwilliamson-616 May 2006
Actually, I thought this B-film was somewhat of a throwback to the Black expolitation era of the 70s with Lisa Raye as a modern-day Pam Grier. The setting takes place in a female prison with disenchanted convicts feeling "exploited" or enslaved by an opportunistic warden who uses their labor to produce clothes for merchants. However, when you consider the fact that prisoners are wrongdoers who are in jail to pay their debt to society, it's rather hard to sympathize with their "plight" in this film.

The warden and captain of the guards are the bad guys of the movie, but their demeanors are too iniquitous. So much so that the film becomes predictable and you know what will inevitably happen.

The casting could have been better. Mos Def portrays a law student who works as a part-time corrections guard in the prison. However, his dense mentality makes this portrayal very unconvincing.

Perhaps the best part of the movie--at least for guys--are the scenes in which voluptuous Lisa Raye and N'Bushe Wright appear barely clothed in the "hole." In spite of anything else, it's enough entertainment to merit the movie's viewing! To any of the ladies out there who are reading this, yeah, I know what you're thinking. But c'mon, you'd get your jollies too if you were to see LL Cool J in a movie bearing his best!
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The Bottom Line
cnicole20022 June 2004
I'm pretty sure a lot of movies we watch contain errors that were honest mistakes. This movie may have a few major mistakes, but overall we understand where the author was trying to go. Last year I began writing a script myself and after proofreading several times I still may have over looked a few mistakes. The bottom line is Civil Brand was a good movie. I believe the director used the right actresses to star in the movie because they fit the characters easily. Acting is something you have to feel and I believe this is why the movie is considered to be one of our best. There's a major difference between Black Movies and movies with Black stars. Civil Brand is a black movie all the way through. It may be a beginning for us who knows, but most importantly it's something done by us. A $500.00 budget is nowhere near enough to make a movie without pressure, so I say please keep up the good work women. All of the women in this movie are setting the path for aspiring, actresses/ writers like myself.
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10/10
Civil Brand is a story about young Black women who come together and fight against a corrupt prison system that forces them to work in sweat shop conditions so that the prison can make a profit.
simvanessa10 August 2002
I saw the movie on Friday August 9th on 34th street.

It is a incredible movie that explores the new trend prison for profit.

It truly is an incredible movie. It took me to a place that I have ignored-The plight of women in prison. So many times, I have said "Prison is just a country club". But I realized today that it is not a country club and that many innocent women or people are behind bars. Women just like the character LiL Moma, for example, who may have killed in self defense.

I must say that as a result of the director taking the time to develop a story line for each character in the prison, the audience comes to terms with the fact that these women were survivors and not animals.

Last but not least, the film is very much like a roller coaster-just when you feel very sad, you begin to laugh hysterically-just when you are laughing hysterically, you begin to clap.

I tried my best not to tell the story.
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10/10
All things considered . . .
curious2-118 October 2003
When you consider that Lions Gate reneged on a promised 25 day shooting schedule with no advance notice, forcing the director to finish the film in 14 days, the movie is not bad. Props to Neema Barnette for championing this film and finally getting it into movie theatres.
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10/10
outstanding film !!!!
speck-16 December 2002
This film is outstanding and anyone that has followed this movie over the past year knows there is a really great buzz about it all across the nation. This is also a big success for director Neema Barnette and the marvelous cast as this film has won several awards in it's journey to the top. Be sure to check this film out at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival in January and also in theatres across the country in April 2003 as Lions Gate Films prepares for a theatrical release.
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More holes than fishnet stockings...
donovan_c7 April 2004
Warning: Spoilers
I understand that this file is a great achievement for black women since it has four starring roles for black women and a black female director. On the other hand, I can't see why we accept less than average work for black cinema. This movie is a total disgrace. I understand that there were budget concerns with this movie, but some of the problems with this picture have nothing to do with money.

Questions: (Spoilers Below)

  • At the beginning, we are told that Sergeant Dees has been at the prison for 17 years and he has outlasted 4 Wardens. On the other hand, when the Warden and Dees get into an argument.... he tells Dees that he will send him back to Florida where he found him. The problem is that based on the first statement, the Warden found Dees at this prison...not in Florida.


  • Little Mama is in jail for killing her stepfather who raped her. Now, she is about 4 or 5 months pregnant (from her stepfather) when we meet her and she has been there for some time. In which state does justice move so quickly? It takes at least a year for a murder trial to commence. Well, that is a small thing.


  • The inmates seem to have a huge problem because there is no heat in the cells. On the other hand, when the two main characters are sent to "dungeon" for solitary confinement...they are clothed only in their underwear and it is extremely hot. I thought heat rises. Plus, when the girls are outside, they don't seem to be cold at all. So, it is only in the jail cells that they are cold.


  • I also noticed the problem with Wet's scar. They talk about the scar, then she gets smacked...but she is not bleeding while she is being taken away. Later, she has this bright red scar that looks like she has been cut by a steak knife. Something doesn't fit.


  • The entire "miscarriage" scene is a total disgrace. First, I know that Frances was a nurse, but how does the doctor know to trust her with the defibrillator? In addition, the screen to the defibrillator is off..now that is really funny. Little Mama does not have any IVs or monitors connected to her to let the doctor know her vital stats. The doctors tries to "shock" her threes times before he calls the time of death. I thought they tried for at least 30 minutes. Also, when someone's heart stops beating, I thought you are supposed to start compressions....at least I have watched enough ER to know that much.


  • In the final scene, the backdrop to the exit of the "infirmary" is completely different when Wet walks out that when Frances and Nikki walk out 10 minutes later. Hey, this is a small thing, but when you make a motion picture, these things should not happen....I don't care how small the budget is.


All in all, I felt this movie insulted my intelligence. I am supposed to pretend that I don't realize all the flaws with the plot and cinematography...just to enjoy the picture? No way!
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4/10
It's it a OK effort but could have been more.
Comeuppance Reviews13 February 2004
Civil Brand is a mediocre prison film. It is trying to class up the much-maligned so called "Women in Prison" flick. This isn't like "Caged Heat" and "Chained Heat". Rather this is a drama about changing your life for the better.

The redeeming parts of this film are: any scene with Warden Alan Deese (Clifton Powell) and Mos Def's character. Everything else is very clichéd and has no originality. All the prison stereotypes are in force. Also there are too many jump cuts and editing tricks. The acting for the most part is just a lot of yelling. On the downside, the ending feels a bit tacked-on. On the upside, Lark Voorhies of "Saved By the Bell" fame is in it.

For more insanity, please visit: comeuppancereviews.com
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7/10
Fast Pace Action and Mega-Hot N'Bushe Wright = Thumbs Up
DarylKMiddlebrook15 October 2013
Caught the beginning of this film on cable, found it interesting enough, that I purchased the film on Amazon. Honestly, I didn't expect much, women's prison films are notoriously bad or depressingly sad; however, I have to say that I was surprisingly pleased with Civil Brand. While the story initially seems to revolve around Frances Shepherd (lovely LisaRaye)) a women convicted to life for killing her abusive husband, the film quickly transforms into an ensemble event, with an interesting, and for a women's prison film, very attractive cast. First we're introduced to Sabrina (rapper Da Brat) who narrates us through this tale. Once inside we meet Lil' Momma (gorgeous Lark Voorhies) the religious teen doing time for killing her rapist step-father; militant Wet (always impressive Monica Calhoun), prison snitch Aisha (the underrated Tichina Arnold) and finally gangster girl Nikki (the delectable N'Bushe Wright). Instead of focusing, as most prison films do, on infighting between the inmates, the film successfully sheds light on the abuse women prisoners often encounter while locked up. In Civil Brand, that abuse is orchestrated by the notorious Captain Deese (the always worthy Clifton Powell). From slave labor to rape, Deese is the perfect despicable villain needed for such a movie. While the performances range from watchable to very good, none stand out more than that of N'Bushe Wright. Not since Pam Grier have I seen an actress pull off the role of a tough-as-nails bad girl, and look so hot doing it. Those that don't know her by name, may remember her in similar roles in the films Blade and Dead Presidents. This woman should be an A-List actress, why that hasn't happened is a mystery to me. Anyway, I digress, Civil Brand is worthy of 91 minutes (the actual running time) of your day. If you like action films, if you like action films with great looking actresses, this is the film for you.
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7/10
Sounds familiar?
This is a typical time of movie. Prisoners pay their debt to society only to find out they're being used as a pawn to the corporation games? When the usual thing happens to offenders, they get arrested send to prison by the courts and do time. However, everything in prison isn't all what it's cracked up to be. When the prisoners lose their friend who was also pregnant, that's when actions take place. It goes to show in the movie that the real bad guys weren't the prisoners, it was the captain and the guards. When law, order and discipline is abused in prison, they will join the prisoners as well. For their part the prison was shut down, thanks to the efforts of a lawyer and a couple of inmates. It goes to show that to system isn't always what it used to be, you got to fight for your rights guilt or innocence isn't the key, right and wrong is. This movie is for guys, and I think is a keeper along with other blaxportation films as well.
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3/10
Not sure if this movie deserves all the praise it's getting on this site...
blakndn20 August 2003
A friend already warned me not to expect a whole lot from this movie, so I went in trying to like it. Perhaps it's because it's the director's first feature film, but mainly because of budget constraints, "Civil Brand" left a lot of gaps in credibility, and visual creativity. I know that the director comes from a television background, and a lot of shots have tight close-ups. Saves money. But I honestly felt that this picture almost slid into B-movie campiness. Let me break it down. Actors. N'Bushe Wright is the best thing in this flick. Casting a few rappers and marginal actresses hurt this piece. I love Mos Def, but he was set up as an important character, but he's underutilized. Perhaps because there was not enough cash to get this thing done, some scenes were not filmed. Less Voice over narrative would've helped. In fact, there should be no narrator. Narration separates the audience from the characters, especially when the person narrating is not integral to the plot. Next, sound design. Clifton Powell (who plays the head prison guard) is an awesome actor. He brings intensity to any scene, and can flip directions like Gene Hackman, hands down. But the choice of music (too much) overwhelmed scenes that could be more intense without telegraphic music that announces what happens next. I felt like I was viewing a silent-era film where the organ player tells you what to feel by the music cue. Reminds me of that damn zither from "The Third Man", the music over powers certain scenes that just don't need it. Make-up/hair. These women are in prison. Sistas had their hair and nails hooked up better than the women I see walking down my street! The characer "Wet" has a faded scar in one scene; a few scenes later another character is commenting on how she just got a bad scar on her face from a beating, then, minutes later (days later in movie-speak), her scars are all red a fresh, even though she had them way before the mention of any beating. Chalk it up to lack of continuity. A fake bloodshot eye lense was very obvious on the Tichina Arnold character. (I know I mispelled her name...sorry) The warden had this thick gob of gel that is used to simulate sweat, but it never moved in all the close-ups he had. Just looked like a gob of goo. Not a big deal if it's a medium shot. But Extreme Close-up? Yikes. Looks like vasoline. I tried to overlook these things, but they are important if one is trying to immerse a person in this world. It was a distraction. Especially Lisa Raye's glitter eye shadow in a few of her close ups as she's talking behind bars. Some scenes were just plain over the top, to the point where I was laughing when I should've been focused on caring for these women. I feel like the movie should be done again, and Neema Barnette given the budget and support to take her time making this picture. It was meshed together in 15 days, when clearly three more weeks probably would've solved a lot of character problems and plot holes left over. So much potential. I support independent film by any means necessary, and Neema is to be commended for actually getting a film on screen. At the same time, the idea that this is a film being lauded as one of the best "black films" and is winning awards in some festivals has me concerned about the quality of films black audiences are desperate to watch. I honestly don't know if the script was even up to task on this. Too many missed opportunities. This film shoulda been popping like the Attica Prison Riot. Instead, it comes of limp and unfulfilled. Just a major disappointment. I hesitate to recommend people to see this. It's a catch-22. If people see this, and like it, then more will be made just like it. Not Good. And if no one goes to see it, distributors and studios can point the finger and say, "See, no one wants to see films, with a dominant black cast." So, I say go see it for what it is, and hopefully it will be financially viable enough to actually get the money to do a story of this magnitude better justice. The prison industrial complex and female slave labor and assualts behind bars is no joke. We have yet to see that story.
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3/10
Important message, very poorly delivered
MagicStarfire13 May 2006
In one way, I hate to downgrade this film because it does have a message it is trying to get out, and there are so few films about African American women. I also understand the director is an African American woman. However, the truth is, this film is not very well done at all.

What they wanted to convey was the conditions for women in prisons. What came across, however, was that only African American women are in prisons (the very few white women seen, had non-speaking roles and were just blurry extras in the background). They also wanted to indicate that the working conditions in prisons are terrible, again, they failed to truly show this--instead it came across as if the prisoners felt they shouldn't have to work at all, that they should just be allowed to loll about entertaining themselves all day.

I never did get all the women characters straightened out as to who was who and who did what. We don't get enough time with each woman to get to know her that well.

All the guards and the Warden are the mean, bad guys, except for the one new guard, Michael. The actor playing Michael was a very poor choice for the role. Michael is supposed to be a college student, studying to be a lawyer, the actor who played him, keeps his head down and mumbles his lines in a way that gives the impression he has no self-confidence at all.

The plot, such as it is, concerns the women being ill-treated by the Captain of the guards who demands sexual favors of them while man-handling them brutally. Also the plot concerns them doing sewing in what is supposed to be sweat shop conditions for virtually no pay, while the man who re-sells the items is making a big profit.

Can the women get the truth out there, is the plot question.

Meanwhile we see some woman on woman fighting, some stabbing, and some time spent in solitary.

All of the women have children and miss their children, and of course they have been imprisoned unfairly and that sort of thing.

Unfortunately there are no love affairs or sex between the female prisoners, which would have added some realism and interest to the story.

3 stars out of 10
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10/10
It was the bomb
ajagers20 March 2006
This movie was the bomb. I like how all the characters came to life and how they all have their own story. I wanted to jump through the t.v. when captain Dee's raped and killed Lil mama. I couldn't believe he would do something like that. That cold hearted punk. That movie seemed so real like it was based on a true story. I hop it was all fictional because if something like that happened in real life then he deserved to die. Over all the movie was off the chain and they get many props from me. Great job. I like how they all got together and made a plan to take Dee's down. He was so corrupt. I hope that stuff really don't be happening in the prisons. Working for a dollar and fifty cent. That has got to be illegal. Anyways the movie was the bomb it was off the chain and i recommend that everybody goes to see it, rent it, or buy whatever you gotta do to watch it because it is worth it.
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1/10
Had the right idea but it failed to connect with me..
adonis98-743-1865034 February 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Women prisoners strike up a friendship with a young law student who works as a part-time prison guard. Together they discover that a corporation funds and is profiting from the plantation-like work environment they are forced to work under. In a botched attempt to organize a protest against their "slave labor", the women take over the prison - A rare glimpse of the effects of the prison industrial complex on female inmates. Most of the time i do like this kind of movies about inmates or Prisons in general and i really don't care if it's a woman or a man but this was a poor excuse of a film both in terms of drama and even action. The only good thing about it was actually the women who portrayed this roles i think that each one of them did a good job but both the script and the characters are poorly made with most of the film being about only rape or just people talking all the time plus the movie has one of the worst gun sound i have ever seen in my life it felt like 2 tracks hitting each other it was pretty dumb. Overall Civil Brand is a poorly made film with some pretty good actors get wasted. (1/10)
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5/10
Feels too much like a Lifetime movie
jfgibson737 November 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I liked the point of view of this movie more than the actual story itself. It isn't a typical women in prison movie, probably because the director is a woman herself. It focuses on a mainly African American female cast and the struggles of the women's prison they are in. I think my main criticism of the movie is that it feels a little too glossy. Even when terrible things are happening and we are supposed to be horrified at the conditions in this place, the tone is more like a Disney movie than a movie about cold hard reality. I would like to see more movies made by black women, but I would prefer one that has something authentic to say.
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10/10
Powerful
danceability6 November 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Powerful

Actors: LisaRaye, Lark Voorhies, N'Bushe Wright, Mos Def, Monica Calhoun, Clifton Powell, Mc Lyte

1st off Much Love & Props 2 Neema Barnette 1 the Guru(s) of the underground Directors! I've found a much deeper connection with her work after I viewed the DVD with her commentary... I love both Mc Lyte's & N'Bushe Wright's Dispositions period, so they're my rationale for supporting Civil Brand! Mc Lyte gets slept on as an Actress & Rappers as well! She ominscient at what she does and she speaks & raps eloquently! Mc Lyte, Queen Latifah are 2 of the best that has strucked Rap & Acting (hands down). Thanks to Neema B. for not being raunchy & making Civil Brand out to be a cliché' prison chick flick! Tichina Arnold (Pam) from Martin showed that she's versatile with her skills. I loved when Tichina punched Lisa in the face & snatched her chain, like ''Bitch Ante-Up''. I'll express my Hatred for Clifton Powell's character... He had the balls to think that he & his boss would get away with turning these inmates into Tricks!!!! When Monica Calhoun & the rest of them were beating his ass I got an Adrenalin rush! They took over the prison on some Attica sh*t (You Know). Mos Def was feeble at 1st but he found the courage to help with cause, so he was cool. Cervantes/Mc Lyte was on the wrong team, but I'm glad in a way because if she was a convict then she might have been killed also! My biggest complaint is that Neema should've kept most characters alive so that they could've wreap the benefit of being Emancipated along with the narrator Da Brat! As I said before all of these prison movies are an example of how prisoners are slaved (it must be Seen & Heard). It should be Rectified why aren't these Tyrants being brought to Justice as the criminals that they are? It's F***ing sad that a prisoners has to make clothing & be paid little to nothing after completing it!... After that they'll Rape the Consumers by charging 2 arms & 1 leg for those items (A Total conspiracy)! I feel that Neema could've found someone else to play Lisa Raye's role, I wasn't getting anything from her! Jada Pinkett would've been suitable to play L. Raye's role! I enjoyed the sound track plenty because it had a touch of Poetry!
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8/10
Picture "Set it off" and "Shawshank redemption"
fullenw16 June 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Ever seen "Set it off" and "Shawshank redemption"? Civil brand is like both those movies combined. The ending is a lot like "set it off". Da Brat (yes the rapper) is the narrator of this movie.

You got 4 main women: Wet, Nikki, Francis and Little mama. All are in prison for some jacked up reasons. Mainly Francis since her actions are the only ones that can be justified.

The women in prison are used to make items for the Warden so he could sell those items for a lot more. Pretty much scamming $$$. The main point is the prison is corrupt and the inmates are abused. There's a new guard (played by Mos Def) who's most likely their only ally.

BTW, after watching Clifton Powell in this movie I wonder could Hollywood politics get any biased. He deserved major props for his role. Who didn't do a fantastic job in this movie?!
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Perfectly awful
George Parker6 February 2004
"Civil Brand" is a horrible attempt at making a serious film about the exploitation of women in prison. Using "slave labor" as a topic to impart some dignity to this abysmal flick, "CB" gets in our face with stereotypes such as the sadistic guard to the profiteering warden to the usual bunch of babes behind bars. The unfortunate downside of this directorial disaster is the obvious low budgetness, awful dialogue, terrible screenplay, etc. One for the dumpster. PU! (D+)
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10/10
This was a hot movie
djchrisl200512 May 2006
It had some flaws but, over all it came in and it had you thinking about what was going to happen the whole time. I didn't the two women that stood at the end should have died. It was a great movie and I loved it but, a lot of stuff that happened shouldn't have happened. The one thing I saw in that movie was when Rose died, the blood that dripped off her face went away and when they put the jacket over her her stomach was moving the whole time. Another thing was when they punched the brat, the scar came back and the disappearing through the woman. ( Why would they make a woman scrape paint off the walls when the damn paint does not come off?) Overall it was a great movie and I think standing up for your rights is the moral of that story.
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4/10
Just not good enough
ebert31122 October 2005
I watched this movie twice. Once without any preview or knowledge of the plot. The second time listening to the commentary from the producer and the director. I do understand that the movie had a lot of problems with financing and script re-writes. I also understand that they had problems just getting all of the scenes that they needed to complete the picture. With that said, I really didn't feel that this movie was anything greater than a made for cable movie.

I read about the glaring errors in other posts, but to me, the most obvious was the acting. I just felt that it wasn't realistic at times. We've all seen the formula girl prison movie before. This movie tacks on another issue not explored in other prison films. If this movie stayed on that issue more and tried not to tackle 4-5 other problems going on in prisons today, I think it would have been a better movie.

I really hope they give the director a chance to really direct a picture so I can see what potential she has to offer with an all black female cast. I just wasn't stirred by this film and the disjointed acting and editing was probably the reason why.
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True movie but dissatisfied.
parisqueen22 February 2004
The movie tells the truth about the corruption in prisons against women. There are plenty of corrupt wardens who abuse female prisoners.

I believe that those women would have suffered abuse and with no one to back them up. And I think its true alot of them are in there for minor offenses or self defense I am dissatisfied with the way the prisoners are stereotypically portrayed. I think those actresses deserve much better roles then to have to play prisoners. Those women are real actresses and deserve better roles. You wouldn't see the ugly ducklings of sex and the city playing in prison.
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7/10
The Film that could have been.
Anyanwu17 November 2002
Suffice it to say this movie could have been way more than it was. I have to write this knowing what transpired in the making of the film. Civil Brand was to focus on the Prison Industrial Complex and how it relates to women in prison. The fact that most women in prison are in as a result of some aspect of domestic violence; and that the need for these women in prison fuels a slavocracy in the production of products for sale for corporation; and that the prison industry has risen as a result of this need for slave labor; and that women in prison are attacked because of their gender ie rape,beatings. The budget was approx $500.000, the shoot was 15 days. (Using real or ex convicts along with the actors would have been the real deal adding a reality and tension in the film that it cannot get w/just actors) Simply there was not enough money or time given to the filmmaker to put these points across with the bang, which is how I believe they intended. The forces that be "behind" the film did not allow it. Nevertheless, Civil Brand, gives us a glimpse of the gendered persecution that women face in prison and how if people really knew what was happening in there they would not want to go in(focus on youth) and they would rise up against a system that destroys human potential and separates themselves from their selves.
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