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directed by Jules Stewart
USA 2012

 

The directorial debut of script supervisor Jules Stewart (mother of actress Kristen Stewart, who was apparently at one time attached to the project during its long development period), K-11 has more in common with Jamaa Fanaka's PENITENTIARY than THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION (or even CHAINED HEAT or CAGED HEAT) as far as "-in-prison" films. Found unconscious and under the influence of narcotics at the murder scene of one of his rock stars, record producer Raymond Saxx, Jr. (Goran Visnjic, THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO) wakes to find himself in jail and consigned to the K-11 ward reserved for homosexuals and lorded over by transsexual Moussey (Kate del Castillo, UNDER THE SAME MOON). On the surface, Saxx's plight for innocence and freedom is a superficial way of bringing the audience into this "land of broken toys" as unstable-but-endearing patricidal sometimes-a-girl "Butterfly" (Portia Doubleday, ALMOST KINGS) calls it. In between scenes of Saxx trying to get help during his one-a-day phone calls and meeting with a lawyer (there's never an interrogation), the loosely-plotted film explores the inner workings of the block. There's a power struggle between coke-addled Sgt. Johnson (D.B. Sweeney, FIRE IN THE SKY) and Ben (Jason Mewes, CLERKS), an inmate who serves as his clerk as front for smuggling cocaine into K-11. Child molester Detroit (Tommy 'Tiny' Lister, JACKIE BROWN) - awaiting sentencing and placed in K-11 because he would not survive in the general population despite his stature - forces himself repeatedly Butterfly and makes the fatal mistake of asking her to call him "daddy". "Precious" (Markus Redmond, FIGHT CLUB) would rather stay in K-11 as a "hairdresser to the stars" - The Cult's Billy Morrison (EVILUTION) as inmate/washed-up rock star "Hollywood" who also provides a theme song for the closing credits - than face the outside world. Crystal (Tara Buck, TV's TRUE BLOOD) tries to take over as "House Mouse" and becomes an example of what happens when anyone goes up against Moussey when she returns.

On the other hand, one can interpret the film as Saxx's trip to Oz or Wonderland, and the various bits of advice (sometimes in the form of threats) as life lessons for the jaded protagonist about respecting himself and others if he wants to truly be free (Moussey also makes the seemingly flip statement that as long as the inmates are hooked [on her cocaine supply], they will always come back); and the "just desserts" meted out to some characters as illustrative to him of Butterfly's statement of the moral "bad things happen to bad people". Saxx doesn't seem like a particularly "good" person, but he perhaps is meant to be in the sense here that he has a chance to make life choices so as not to be a repeat offender like those who feel at home in K-11. Too slick and well-made to be enjoyed as exploitation, the film may have limited audience appeal (although there are gay characters - not all viewed in a positive light - it's not part of US distributor Breaking Glass Pictures' QC Cinema line). It's not too satisfying as a drama, and the ending veers too sharply in tone (as if the director liked the characters or the actors too much to put them through anything too downbeat); but director Stewart - whose son Cameron plays "Sledgehammer" - demonstrates a good handling of actors (Castillo and Doubleday are particularly good) for a first timer, and it will be interesting to whether her next project leans more towards exploitation or something more mainstream.

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 15 March 2013 (USA)

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DVD Review: Breaking Glass Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

Breaking Glass Pictures

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:27:57
Video

2.40:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.65 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles English (CC),
Features Release Information:
Studio: Breaking Glass Pictures

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.40:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary by director Jules Stewart and producer Tom Wright, Jr.
• Behind the Scenes (16:9; 1:56)
• Deleted Scenes:
• - Cold Opening (16:9; 1:38)
• - Mouse Gets Sexy (16:9; 2:42)
• - Butterfly on a Wall (16:9; 1:50)
• - Johnson Gets Angry (16:9; 0:06)
• Interviews:
• - Goran Visnjic (16:9; 5:26)
• - Kate del Castillo (16:9; 4:35)
• - D.B. Sweeney (16:9; 2:29)
• - Others (16:9; 6:25)
• 'My Liberty' music video (16:9; 3:17), Photo Gallery
• Trailer (16:9; 1:55)
• Trailers for LAURENCE ANYWAYS, DEAD IN FRANCE, and SILVER CASE

DVD Release Date: April 23rd, 2013
Amaray

Chapters 11

 

Comments

Breaking Glass' dual-layer disc features a progressive, anamorphic rendering of this 2.40:1-matted HD production. The back cover states that the audio is 2.0 stereo, but the track on the disc is in 5.1 (English closed captions are also provided).

The array of extras starts off with a commentary track by director Jules Stewart and producer Tom Wright, Jr. They mention that the film was actually shot on location - a former women's jail that mirrors a men's jail in its design - rather than on a set, and the effect of the location on the performances, the sound design, and the photography. They also reveal that Sweeney's character was made up to look like Hitler as a shortcut to emphasizing him as the villain of the piece, and offer a clearer explanation of why the protagonist was singled out for K-11 than in the film. Stewart also describes the research she did on the real K-11 to justify her stylistic choices for the location.

A too-brief behind-the-scenes segment spends more time showing the actors and crew relaxing between shooting than the shooting itself. A handful of deleted scenes include a wisely deleted prologue montage dramatizing the protagonist's hazy recollection of crime that got him into K-11, a scene where Moussey creeps into Saxx's bed that might have been left out because the tone is a little too light, a scene between Saxx and Butterfly following her assault (in which his attempt to comfort her by repeating her dictum "bad things happen to bad people" may have spurred her later actions), and an abruptly-clipped bit of an angry outburst from Johnson.

The interviews with Visnjic, Castillo, and Sweeney emphasize their enthusiasm for the challenging roles (particularly Castillo who wanted to wear a prosthetic appliance for a couple brief views of her in her underwear) and their faith in Stewart's direction. They also provide more background information on the characters than is provided in the film. Others - including Stewart herself, her son Cameron, Billy Morrison, producer Tom Wright Jr. (A DOG OF FLANDERS), Jason Mewes, and Markus Redmond - give sound-byte comments in an additional single six minute segment. A music video of Morrison's theme song, a photo gallery, and trailers for the feature and other Breaking Glass titles round out the extras.

The film is also available on Blu-ray (HERE).

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

 

Distribution

Breaking Glass Pictures

Region 1 - NTSC

 

 




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