Silent Scream

After shooting a barman in a Soho pub in 1963, Larry Winters was sentenced to life imprisonment. In 1973, a violent prisoner addicted to the drugs prescribed to control his depressions, he became one of the first inmates at the Barlinnie Special Unit, a liberal community, where he wrote poetry and the prose piece that gives Hayman's powerful film its title, and there in 1977 he died of a drugs overdose, aged 34. The film unfolds - a complex series of flashbacks - as Winters wrestles with his demons for the last time, recollecting incidents from his childhood in Glasgow and Carbisdale, his time in the Parachute Regiment, and his single taste of freedom in the last 13 years, a visit home. Hayman adopts a bold, subjective style for his directing debut. The elliptical editing owes something to Roeg, but Hayman goes further, evoking a hallucinatory mood in which guitars wail like banshees, ghosts torment the murderer, and even Winters' poems come to life. The film comes close to pretentiousness, and Bill Beach's screenplay is a mite wordy. Full of ambition and conviction, though; and Glen, as Winters, gives a ravenous, intensely physical performance.

Release details

Duration: 85 mins

Cast and crew

Director: David Hayman
Screenwriter: Bill Beech, Jane Beech
Cast: John Murtagh
Andrew Barr
Alexander Morton
Anne Kristen
Paul Samson
Iain Glen
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