As the best of the current batch of rape pictures, Jackson County Jail - perhaps not surprisingly - exploits its heroine the least. With her job and domestic life in shreds, a middle class career woman leaves the security of LA to drive across the States. On the road she is subjected to by now familiar humiliations, culminating with life on the run after a jail rape. What lifts the film beyond the offensive indignities of its lesser relations is an insistence on the violence and discrimination in American society, and the assured and straightforward progression through the country's underbelly. In addition, unlike Death Weekend, it is unequivocally sympathetic towards its heroine. Right from the deceptive opening, Miller's direction knows what it's about, and the continual emphasis on the woman's plight and her silent bewilderment lends the film dimensions of reflection and compassion probably not in the original script. The assurance of Yvette Mimieux's performance is a real surprise.
Cast and crew
Tommy Lee Jones