R Review – Riveting Danish Prison Drama

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.

Brutal Life

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.

Prison films like Cell 211, Un Prophète, Shawshank Redemption, R etc constitute a genre that’s completely unknown to Indian chutiyas addicted to sophomoric romantic drivel.

To all our readers in the U.S., R DVD is available at Netflix.

SearchIndia.com strongly recommends R.

6 Responses to "R Review – Riveting Danish Prison Drama"

  1. முனிAndy   October 24, 2011 at 9:08 am

    First X, now R.. How does this sequence go.. PG-13 next? Or are you covering all the alphabets.. If you are covering all alphabets, you can take a shortcut and watch 4 alphabets in ABCD starring Shaam, Sneha and Aparna..

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Ntflix has two Indian ABCDs – a Tamil movie (your comment above) and Hindi (Madhur Jaffrey, Faran Tahir, Sheetal Sheth).

    We added the Hindi movie to our queue as it looked more promising.

    • முனிAndy   October 24, 2011 at 9:24 am

      Sheetal was in two (supposedly) steamy lesbo movies with Lisa Ray “I Can’t Think Straight” and “The World Unseen”. Haven’t watched them, but they have higher IMDB ratings than her ABCD. It is quite possible that those high ratings were given by horny desi men/lesbians.

  2. Dr.Logu   October 25, 2011 at 5:30 am

    Does SI have any plans to watch 7amaruvu him/herself or is it going to be SI’s loyal shishya Naveen again



    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    We’ve sent an e-mail to Naveen. Let’s see.

  3. Aswin_Kini   October 25, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Speaking of non-Indian and non-hollywood movies, I was watching this tamil movie called YUDDHAM SEI starring Cheran, Yugendran, and other Y-Gee Mahendra. Unlike other masala movies, this one was a terrific crime thriller and made me sit glued to the television till the end. First, I was pretty sure that this movie seemed too fine and well crafted to be an Indian movie, so i googled about the film and found out that it was plagiarized from the Korean movie “NO MERCY”. BOY, WAS I PIZZED OFF OR WHAT?

    On the positive end, if the tamil version seemed to be terrific, I wondered how good the Original Korean movie will be. Planning to download and watch it.

    Wishing SearchIndia and all its readers a very happy Diwali.

    Please celebrate your Diwali with your loved ones, not by watching horror movies like Ra one or 7am Arivu. I trust all of you have your 6am arivu (Sixth sense) intact.

    @Naveen: Wishing you a very happy diwali. Thanks for reviewing 7am Arivu. Please give Ra-One the slip, I don;t want that SRK fellow to benefit from our curiosity.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    1. Thanks for your Diwali greetings, sweetie.

    We wish you the same.

    Our health problems have taken a heavy toll on us lately but we hope you’re healthy enough to enjoy the cornucopia of Indian sweets and snacks that make Deepavali a time of joy for all Indians. 🙂

    2. Regarding Yuddham Sei and No Mercy, one of the commenters SriramParthas made this point earlier.

    We checked again. Unfortunately, Netflix still doesn’t carry No Mercy. Neither does Amazon. 🙁

  4. Aswin_Kini   October 25, 2011 at 11:42 am

    SI Wrote:”Our health problems have taken a heavy toll on us lately but we hope that you’re healthy enough to enjoy the cornucopia of Indian sweets and snacks that make Deepavali a time of joy for all Indians.”

    Too bad to hear that 🙁 Get well soon!!!!

    As for NO Mercy, it is quite unfortunate for Netflix or Amazon not to have it. If I ever get my hands on a NO MERCY DVD, will send it via courier. I remember seeing a film library near Nungambakkam, which contains video tapes, CDs, and DVDs of foreign movies. Lemme check if I can find it there (If the library still exists).

    Meanwhile, check these sites:

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Trailer of No Mercy looks interesting. Thanks.

    Here are some Korean films SI has reviewed.

  5. AC   October 26, 2011 at 12:29 am

    SI- Thanks. I’ll check this movie out.

    You may like another French prison drama, although it came out way back in 1960 (Le Trou; The Hole)

    I watched the movie sometime back and felt it could be a lesson to all the clowns in Hollywood, Bollywood, Kollywood and what have you on how to make a taut prison thriller.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Will try to review Le Trou (The Hole) next week if Netflix has it.

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