You either fuck somebody up or you get fucked up. Get it?
– One inmate (Mason) to another (Rune) in the superb Danish prison film R
Over the last few days, we’ve watched a bunch of foreign language films (i.e. non-English, non-Indian).
Some we’ve reviewed on these pages, others we’ve kept to ourselves.
On Saturday, SI watched a Danish prison film R and, man, we’re still reeling from that high.
Directed by Tobias Lindholm and Michael Noer, R is a gritty, violent film that gives you a visceral peek into the brutal life beyond bars.
If you schmucks think prison life in that barbaric land India is hell, well, know it now that it ain’t no different even in so-called civilized nations like Denmark.
Survival behind bars is impossible unless you make a Faustian pact and sell your soul to the devil.
Why life behind bars has turned into a Dantean hell all over the world is hard to tell precisely.
Perhaps, it’s the corruption of the prison guards, it’s the abandoning of all state attempts at reformation and a focus only on punishment, it’s the beastly instincts of prisoners, it’s the lure of big money from drugs or it’s the boredom of confinement that lures men into the Hades of depravity.
Who can tell with certainty!
When a young man Rune (Johan Philip Asbæk) is sentenced to prison for a stabbing incident, the writing is on the wall for him amidst the wretched, hardened criminals.
Kinda like the chronicle of a disaster foretold (thank you, Marquez)!
Soon, Rune is mopping toilets and doing other menial tasks not to earn the wrath of his angry criminal neighbors.
But is such servile obedience enough to save him?
Of course, not!
Soon he’s ordered to viciously assault an Albanian inmate.
The genesis of the big time tragedy for Rune starts when he devises an ingenious way to smuggle drugs inside the prison along with another R, i.e. Rashid (Dulfi Al-Jabouri).
In the dog-eat-dog predatory prison world, good times last for just a few nanoseconds.
Both Johan Philip and Dulfi turn in strong, convincing performances in this chilling, finely crafted film. The other actors are no lesser when it comes to delivering the goods.
The movie proceeds along at a fast pace with occasional tense moments.
R is a very violent movie with gruesome incidents that can chill even our most hardened viewers who think they’ve seen it all.
The vicious beating of the Albanian on the stairwell and the final horrific scene involving …..are terrible to behold.
But then life is terrible behind those cold, dreadful walls.
Blood chilling violence, betrayals, threats and reprisals are par for the course behind the high walls.
To all our readers in the U.S., R DVD is available at Netflix.
SearchIndia.com strongly recommends R.