The problem of overcrowded prisons and the fact that they often serve as breeding grounds for even tougher criminals, are the concerns of Ghosts . . . of the Civil Dead, an ambitious, confronting first feature from John Hillcoat, with ruggedly explicit language and violence.
Setting is a correctional institution of the near future (exterior of the facility was filmed in Nevada). Film traces the events leading up to a riot and ‘lockdown’. Drama centers around the arrival of newcomer Dave Field, who discovers a nightmare world where drugtaking and gay sex are ignored by guards and where violence is the order of the day.
Cast includes rock performers Nick Cave, Chris de Rose and Dave Mason, a handful of pro actors (Vincent Gil, Bogdan Koca) and a large number of nonpros, some of them actual ex-cons. Production design is striking.