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  • Our homemade 'Brit-flicks' do try to do their best to be labelled as 'gritty.' Seeing as we haven't got the budget, the stars or the special effects of Hollywood, we have to try and be a bit more true to life in order to stand out. Screwed does its best to achieve this.

    An ex serviceman takes on a job as a prison warden in order to make ends meet in civilian life. That's the basic plot. You probably know what to expect - prison beatings, dodgy dealings and plenty of back-stabbing. It might be as cheeky as a Guy Richie film or as deep and dark as the more recent 'Tyrannosaur,' but to be fair, Screwed delivers on all of this.

    Its gritty and grim and it does its best, however it does suffer from a few one-dimensional characters, spouting clichéd lines that you could probably write yourself.

    Is it worth watching? Yes, if you like prison dramas. Its major plus point is the menacing Noel Clarke, playing a (yet nastier) version of his Kidulthood former character.

    Give it a chance. It's not bad. But I do wonder how long Ronnie Barker and his Porridge inmates would have lasted here (and they thought Mr Mackay was bad!).
  • An Irak veteran takes job as prison guard after returning from the war, still bothered with memories from the war traumas. The veteran, Sam Norwood, knows his stuff, but are soon realizing that the prison is not run the way it should. It seems that it's not easy to please all ways. Does he have the backing needed by his superiors?

    The film is great played, very real and believable, like most British films. You could hold Against it that the film is Being more than an action flick. It's also loaded with realism back home.

    There's also an excitement lingering and true enough, you never can be sure what you get into at this station. Being based upon real events, making base of a novel, and with this film following, I can't say anything else that I really enjoyed the flick.

    This film is better than it's rating here at the moment, and is well worth a watch.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    What a powerful insight into a World behind bars. D'Arcy, Clark & Harper were superb in portraying the realism of life on the wrong and right side of the law. Although this film was rated as an 18 due to it's language and violence, Travis shows the brutality, but cleverly leaves the outcome to our imaginations without ramming it down our throats. Very watchable, the way the narrative switches between D'Arcy's character Sam and his home/work relationships is riveting, drawing the audience in, making us ask ourselves what we would do in a time where money doesn't come easy and more people are turning to drugs hoping to lose themselves in the darkness. A nice film to high light the dangers of crime and how easily people can get trapped and enticed, but good prevails in the end.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Sam (James D'Arcy) returns from Iraq and wonders about his future. He turns down an easy drug dealing job from his mates to go work as a prison guard. As a prison guard he gets caught in the middle of the politics of crooked guards, drug dealing prisoners, and an unscrupulous wing governor. His life spirals out of control, the thing he was trying to prevent, and he doesn't realize it.

    The film starts out interesting and draws you in. However, after about 90 minutes or so, you can't wait for it to be over. James D'Arcy plays Sam in a rather bland almost characterless fashion. His character was hard to get into, and as the centerpiece of the film, he was a hard guy to root for as he becomes his own enemy.

    Not the best British crime drama out there, but it does seem like the longest.

    Parental Guide: F-bomb, sex, nudity.
  • STAR RATING: ***** Saturday Night **** Friday Night *** Friday Morning ** Sunday Night * Monday Morning

    Sam Norwood (James D'Arcy), a former soldier, takes up a new job at a local prison to make ends meet. Already anxious at having to work among the undesirables he knows he'll come across, Sam is unprepared for the guards, headed by the burly Deano (Frank Harper) to emerge as just as corrupt, if not worse, than the convicts, as a drug dealing network emerges, while he also has to contend with a warden who seems to take the side of the inmates more and head con Truman (Noel Clarke) steps up the pressure to make Sam snap.

    Based on a novel by former prison guard Ronnie Thompson, Screwed attempts to bring the grim horrors of prison life to the screen, as if it's a feat that hasn't been attempted before, taking in hostage situations, scaldings and pretty much everything bar gang rape. Somehow, this adaptation of his work has all the right ingredients in the pot, from the cast to the gritty, drained style. Somehow, though, the end impression really isn't as impressive as it could have been.

    Somehow, an impressive cast, including D'Arcy, Clarke and Harper, and a supporting cast including Jamie Forman and Andrew Shim fail to shift a low key tone from the film, which comes off as an amateurish, messy, misguided effort. Better use of the cast probably could have raised it up a bar or two, but D' Arcy can't let his character rise above the typical raging ex soldier sort, while Harper and Forman are also stuck with cardboard prison officer roles. Clarke is impressive as ever, but takes too long to make his presence known and come alive, as well as the vicious villain he's portrayed suffering an ill judged, nonsensical ending that is at odds with everything we've seen through-out.

    It's a bit of a let down, but it's not a complete failure. It remains an unflinchingly brutal depiction of the prison world, how the drama plays out remains intriguing and it retains a sense of style and atmosphere that is some compensation. But sadly not quite enough. **
  • If ever there was a wasted opportunity to add another Great British prison movie to the roster headed by Alan Clarke's incendiary Scum, then Screwed is it. The credentials were promising. Based on the real life memoirs of Ronnie Thompson, an ex squaddie who post a tough tour of duty joined the prison service and apparently found another kind of war on the inside, and the adaptation to screen is headed by Brit thespian bad boys Noel Clarke, Frankie Harper and James D'Arcy. Yet what unfolds for the duration of the pic is the standard raft of clichés we movie fans have seen time and time again.

    There's some early promise that maybe this will have something to say as regards a returning war veteran, hints that the screenplay will have caustic asides on the British penal system – and the problems inherent within our prisons, but it never delivers, instead choosing to macho everything up in such a fanciful fashion you have to wonder exactly what is actually based on facts? There's also the small matter of the fact the whole picture plays as very similar to Phil Davis' excellent 1995 football hooligan movie, i.d. Only there it was an undercover policeman getting in feral with his work, here it's a prison officer doing likewise. There's even a sex scene that is lifted straight from Davis' movie.

    Having not read Thompson's book, "Screwed: The Truth About Life As A Prison officer", something which I intend to correct in the immediate future, I can't vouch for the veracity of this adaptation to screen. However, the film feels empty, like it's following a guide book written by the British press on how they "think" our prisons operate, fuelling the horror fire of what filmic adaptations over the decades have led us to believe are regular occurrences. Only Thompson knows the truth, both of his experiences and of how his book has been translated on screen, but all things considered it's a lazy same old same old film. 5/10