Louis Theroux: Behind Bars (2008)

TV Movie   |    |  Documentary


Louis Theroux: Behind Bars (2008) Poster

For two weeks, Theroux visits the San Quentin State Prison.


7.7/10
1,759

Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?

Get More From IMDb

For an enhanced browsing experience, get the IMDb app on your smartphone or tablet.

Get the IMDb app

Reviews & Commentary

Add a Review


User Reviews


28 July 2008 | bob the moo
Engaging and enjoyable look at the world of San Quentin
Outside San Francisco is one of America's bigger jails – San Quentin where some of the most violent criminals are housed. Theroux has guarded access to the prison and the yard areas where he talks with prisoners about life inside, the divisions formed by race, the experiences of inmates new to the prison system as well as the various characters inside – from transsexuals to gangbangers to white supremacists.

Although he has no shortage of weird and wonderful groups in the real world, Louis Theroux is not short of subjects in the intimidating and confined world of San Quentin prison. However what he does not have is a specific individual or group of individuals to specifically spend time with, bond with and coax out in the way he normally does and from the very start I was wondering how he would cope with this. Rather than a group being his subjects in this case, the world of prison is and he structures the film accordingly by drawing on a range of characters that challenge and intrigue the viewer. From Oz I have come to believe many prison clichés and it is interesting to see these dramatised roles and situations play out in reality, however Theroux manages to find some weird characters too.

What surprised me most though was how articulate and engaging everyone was. OK so most speak in the street slant that many (wrongly) dismiss as being a sign of low intelligence but I found myself drawn in by them. Accordingly Theroux doesn't need to push his "naive Englishman abroad innocently asking questions" shtick too hard because the guys are all willing and able to talk. The effect is to present a totally different world without passing judgement, scoring political points or pushing an agenda. The downside of this is that it may feel a little open and not having a point to conclude on but this is a small price worth paying because otherwise the film is engaging and enjoyable – worth seeing even if Theroux's style normally grates on you.

More Like This

Louis Theroux: A Place for Paedophiles

Louis Theroux: A Place for Paedophiles

Louis Theroux: Under the Knife

Louis Theroux: Under the Knife

Louis Theroux: America's Medicated Kids

Louis Theroux: America's Medicated Kids

The Most Hated Family in America

The Most Hated Family in America

America's Most Hated Family in Crisis

America's Most Hated Family in Crisis

Louis Theroux: Gambling in Las Vegas

Louis Theroux: Gambling in Las Vegas

Louis Theroux: Louis and the Brothel

Louis Theroux: Louis and the Brothel

Louis Theroux's African Hunting Holiday

Louis Theroux's African Hunting Holiday

Louis Theroux: Miami Megajail

Louis Theroux: Miami Megajail

Louis Theroux: America's Most Dangerous Pets

Louis Theroux: America's Most Dangerous Pets

Louis Theroux: Law and Disorder in Philadelphia

Louis Theroux: Law and Disorder in Philadelphia

Louis Theroux: The City Addicted to Crystal Meth

Louis Theroux: The City Addicted to Crystal Meth

Did You Know?

Storyline

Plot Summary


Genres

Documentary

Which Oscar Nominee Did Alan Ruck Get Mistaken For?

Alan Ruck of Ferris Bueller's Day Off and "Succession" plays "Never Have I Ever," where he shares his worst audition and how he was surprised to be mistaken for an Oscar nominee.

Watch now

Featured on IMDb

Join us Sunday, Sept. 22, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT for IMDb LIVE After the Emmys, with exclusive interviews, and more. Plus, see what IMDb editors are watching this month.

Around The Web

 | 

Powered by ZergNet

More To Explore

Search on Amazon.com