Review

  • Outstanding English-language effort by the great Swedish actor/director Mai Zetterling (anyone who have seen her brilliant Night Games will agree she kicks Bergman's sorry ass!).

    Although the video box art tried to sell it off as a cheap Women-In-Prison-exploitation flick, it is really serious stuff. As other commentators have pointed out the film share a lot of similarity with Alan Clarke's grim masterpiece Scum, even sharing the same screenwriter. The main difference is that Scrubbers takes place in an all-women juvenile prison, making it both a great complement to Clarke's film and an interesting study of the differences of the sexes in the patriarchal society. Didn't sound that interesting, did it? Well, it really is when you think about it! For instance, how do the girls behavior to one another differ from the boys? How do girls backgrounds, views of themselves and reason for inprisonment differ? What issues do the girls from Scrubbers lack, that the boys from Scum has to deal with, and vice versa. It's really interesting.

    The film is well-acted, well-scripted, thought-provoking and unpleasant. A must-see if you like your movies hard and unembellished. 8/10

    NOTE FOR NON-ENGLISH VIEWERS: I saw a non-subtitled copy Scrubbers, and although this usually is no problem for me, in this case I had some trouble understanding parts of the dialouge. My American-born girlfriend had the same problem. Unless you've majored in ugly working-class English, local swearwords or prison-jive I would advise to see a subtitled version.