Ghosts… of the Civil Dead
Time Out saysHillcoat makes a remarkable debut with this brutal depiction of prison life. The technology appears futuristic, but the New Generation prison under scrutiny is very much a contemporary phenomenon based on the production team's research. The film unfolds in flashback, detailing the violent incidents which necessitated a 'lockdown' at Central Industrial prison. Despite the protection offered to guards by hi-tech observation rooms, the inmates - after months of administrative provocation and manipulation - exact bloody revenge on what they perceive to be their oppressors. Hillcoat makes few concessions to commercial conventions, such as establishing a sympathetic protagonist. The result is unrelenting and harrowing as the focus rapidly shifts between all the aggrieved. Pornography, murder, rape, theft, and drugs are all dealt with in raw fashion, and although the cumulative effect is exceptionally disturbing, the film ultimately manages to elicit passionate concern over the future of our prison service.