a film by Darren Flaxstone and Christian Martin
2010 | 87 mins | UK
›› Release
a gritty tale of love behind bars.
Release by Darren Flaxstone and Christian Martin From the creative team who brought you the uncompromising story of Shank, comes this gritty tale of love behind bars.

Only this is not an Oz, or even a Locked Up for that matter. Rather this is a film with a religious bite to it, as Jack Gillie, an ex Catholic priest, finds himself doing time for an act of an unspeakable nature. Abandoned by the Church and facing up to the brutality of life in a corrupt prison regime run by top dog Max, Jack takes refuge in his friendship with staff guard Martin; a man whose evangelical approach to life soon has the two men becoming one in the middle of the night. Only how long can he keep his illicit relationship, let alone the nature of his crime a secret, from those all too keen to see an eye for an eye?

Release by Darren Flaxstone and Christian Martin Far more darker and adult in tone than its predecessor, here writers and directors Darren Flaxstone and Christian Martin have delivered a work drenched with such a strong sense of foreboding, that it is all but obvious that a happy ending is unlikely from the onset, no matter how much you may wish otherwise. For this is a chilling narrative that plays with the viewer, constantly shifting between past and present time frames, so as to reveal the emotional times of Father Jack, piecemeal fashion.

That Daniel Brocklebank as suspected paedophile Gillie and Garry Summers as compassionate guard Martin make for a tender loving pair, seen wrapped in each others arms more often than not, is not in doubt. Yet it is Bernie Hodges’ unnerving performance that rightly or wrongly lingers with you, his soft spoken delivery of surgical glove attired cellblock boss Max providing the film with its psychotic heartbeat. Yet into a provocative mix that includes Wayne Virgo of Shank fame as tormented cellmate Rook, it is Simon Pearce's loving attention to the cinematic light and shade of the piece that vividly illustrates this feature, contrasting a colourful series of outdoor, if surreal dream sequences, with the bleak reality of life in a prison clearly falling well behind official regulations on health, hygiene and personal safety.

For this is a work that takes few prisoners, that of a compelling penal love story that is not afraid to explore strong themes of religion and hypocrisy, let alone justice, retribution and redemption, along the way weaving them into the core reason as to why Father Gillie is serving time. Not for those averse to acts of bloody violence, but certainly for those who delight in challenging filmmaking that pushes the boundaries of gay cinema, in this instance taking it to a controversial, powerful, if downright shocking conclusion. Need more be said?

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - bare-arsed cheek. 
Overall - file under ... 3+ stars. 
available on DVD as part of the TLA Releasing UK catalogue 08.11.2010
starring: Daniel Brocklebank / Father Jack Gillie, Garry Summers / Martin, Bernie Hodges / Max, Wayne Virgo
/ Rook, Alice Keates / Heather and David Jones as Father Elliot with Jonathan Blake / Head Guard, Chris
Bowden / Lead Thug, Max McCormack-Gray / Danny aged seven, Adam Young / Male Nurse,
Richard Chan / Property Guard and Patrica Prior as the Nun.
cameo appearance by Simon Pearce as Danny.
official website: www.release-movie.co.uk
Copyright 2010 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
archive reference #335
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