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The Work

  • Film
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

A revealing doc set in a maximum security prison

This fly-on-the-wall documentary plunges us into four days of intense group therapy, involving convicts at the maximum security Folsom State Prison in California and a group of visiting volunteers, who have chosen to give their time to help these hardened criminals embrace their inner selves. We watch as the prisoners and their new acquaintances talk, shout, cry, fight and scream together. It’s an intense experience, and director Jairus McLeary has clearly won an unusual level of trust from all the main players: we feel little sense of self-consciousness from those taking part and spend almost the entire film right in the heat of these therapy sessions. Curiously, and maybe inevitably, it’s the visitors who inspire most wariness from us and who often find the experience more challenging than the convicts. Some context is lost in favour of a lot of weeping and wailing, but this remains an eye-opening experience.

Dave Calhoun
Written by
Dave Calhoun

Release Details

  • Duration:87 mins
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