You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Screwed

A tell-all memoir about life as a prison officer delivers only generic entertainment in the routine British low-budgeter "Screwed."

Cast:
With: James D'Arcy, Frank Harper, Noel Clarke, Kate Magowan, Jamie Foreman, Doug Allen, Ray Panthaki, Andrew Shimm, David Hayman, Cal Macaninch, Simon Rhodes.

A tell-all memoir about life as a prison officer delivers only generic entertainment in the routine British low-budgeter “Screwed.” Adapted from Ronnie Thompson’s colorful expose of the same name, pic sees a former soldier trade one uniform for another, while negotiating regulation plotlines involving corrupt wardens, officially sanctioned criminality among prisoners, and cynical, careerist management. Lacking major cast names, this Lionsgate U.K. release looks unlikely to lock down significant auds in hard-top situations, but will pay better dividends when paroled to ancillary. Jailbreak excursions to foreign shores should prove brief.

Returning from a traumatic tour of duty in Iraq, Sam (James D’Arcy) lacks the skill set to make a smooth return to civilian life. Pressured by wife Danielle (Kate Magowan) to provide for their young son, he reluctantly takes the only job open to him: prison guard. His gutsy participation in a violent altercation at the big house earns him approval and the friendship of one officer, Deano (Frank Harper), and the jealous enmity of another, Huntingdon (Simon Rhodes).

Storyline, crafted by Thompson with an assist by novelist-turned-scriptwriter Colin Butts (“Is Harry on the Boat?”), takes too long to build, and is initially content just to establish a web of relationships inside and outside the jail. Plot eventually hinges on a battle between prisoners to control the drug trade inside, and the bent officers who profit from this activity. Deciding whom to trust and choosing between lesser evils is the name of the game for our principled protagonist. Denouement, par for the genre, occurs against the chaotic backdrop of a full-scale prison riot.

Journeyman helmer Reg Traviss, following up little-seen earlier efforts “Joy Division” and “Psychosis,” makes a counterintuitive casting choice with leading man D’Arcy, more typically seen playing posh characters such as Ian Fleming (in “Age of Heroes”), Sherlock Holmes and King Edward VIII in the upcoming “W.E.” His perf here elevates a potentially cliched character, but the actor’s relevance to the pic’s target aud is moot. Lionsgate’s marketing sensibly spotlights Noel Clarke (“Adulthood”), suitably menacing here as kingpin inmate Truman, who uses psychological insight into Sam’s soldiering scars to skillfully push his buttons. Magowan is short-changed by her role as Danielle, who watches from the sidelines as her husband spirals downward into alcohol and cocaine abuse.

Following slim theatrical returns for British prison drama “The Escapist,” which opened in Blighty in June 2008 on 67 prints, it’s hard to envisage a kinder fate for “Screwed,” which is benefiting from a similar-size domestic release. Title, incidentally, is a pun on “screw,” Brit slang for a correctional officer.

Screwed

U.K.

Production: A Lionsgate U.K. release of a Surya Prods. production. (International sales: Intandem, London.) Produced by Ronnie Thompson, James Harris, Suki Dulai. Executive producers, Nicola Pearcey, Suki Dulai, Martin Halls, Kewal Dulai. Harry Dulai. Co-producers, Freddie Hutton-Mills, Bart Ruspoli. Directed by Reg Traviss. Screenplay, Ronnie Thompson, Colin Butts, based on a memoir by Thompson.

Crew: Camera (color, widescreen) Bryan Loftus; editor, John Palmer; music, George Kallis; music supervisor, Thompson; production designer, Kajsa Soderlund; art director, Juliet Murrell; costume designer, Rebecca Gore; sound (Dolby Digital), John Crossland; supervising sound designer, Alex Joseph; re-recording mixers, Joseph, Kondal, Jamie Roden; stunt coordinator, Martin Shenton; line producer, James Harris; assistant director, James Nunn; casting, Colin Jones. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (market), May 13, 2011. Running time: 110 MIN.

With: With: James D'Arcy, Frank Harper, Noel Clarke, Kate Magowan, Jamie Foreman, Doug Allen, Ray Panthaki, Andrew Shimm, David Hayman, Cal Macaninch, Simon Rhodes.

More Film

  • Abbas Kiarostami

    APSA to Honor Late Abbas Kiarostami, Newcomer Ilgar Najaf

    A tell-all memoir about life as a prison officer delivers only generic entertainment in the routine British low-budgeter “Screwed.” Adapted from Ronnie Thompson’s colorful expose of the same name, pic sees a former soldier trade one uniform for another, while negotiating regulation plotlines involving corrupt wardens, officially sanctioned criminality among prisoners, and cynical, careerist management. […]

  • village rockstars TIFF

    Village Rockstars,' ‘Summer 1993’ win Mumbai Film Festival

    A tell-all memoir about life as a prison officer delivers only generic entertainment in the routine British low-budgeter “Screwed.” Adapted from Ronnie Thompson’s colorful expose of the same name, pic sees a former soldier trade one uniform for another, while negotiating regulation plotlines involving corrupt wardens, officially sanctioned criminality among prisoners, and cynical, careerist management. […]

  • Vivien Leigh

    Vivien Leigh Biopic in Works From 'Feud: Bette and Joan' Writers (EXCLUSIVE)

    A tell-all memoir about life as a prison officer delivers only generic entertainment in the routine British low-budgeter “Screwed.” Adapted from Ronnie Thompson’s colorful expose of the same name, pic sees a former soldier trade one uniform for another, while negotiating regulation plotlines involving corrupt wardens, officially sanctioned criminality among prisoners, and cynical, careerist management. […]

  • Bill Nighy

    Film News Roundup: Bill Nighy, Jack Lowden to Star in Comedy 'Made in Italy'

    A tell-all memoir about life as a prison officer delivers only generic entertainment in the routine British low-budgeter “Screwed.” Adapted from Ronnie Thompson’s colorful expose of the same name, pic sees a former soldier trade one uniform for another, while negotiating regulation plotlines involving corrupt wardens, officially sanctioned criminality among prisoners, and cynical, careerist management. […]

  • Busan: Director Kamila Andini on Balancing

    Busan: Director Kamila Andini on Balancing Motherhood and Filmmaking

    A tell-all memoir about life as a prison officer delivers only generic entertainment in the routine British low-budgeter “Screwed.” Adapted from Ronnie Thompson’s colorful expose of the same name, pic sees a former soldier trade one uniform for another, while negotiating regulation plotlines involving corrupt wardens, officially sanctioned criminality among prisoners, and cynical, careerist management. […]

  • VidAngel logo

    VidAngel Declares Bankruptcy to Put Copyright Fight on Hold

    A tell-all memoir about life as a prison officer delivers only generic entertainment in the routine British low-budgeter “Screwed.” Adapted from Ronnie Thompson’s colorful expose of the same name, pic sees a former soldier trade one uniform for another, while negotiating regulation plotlines involving corrupt wardens, officially sanctioned criminality among prisoners, and cynical, careerist management. […]

  • Morgan Freeman Colin Powell

    Morgan Freeman to Play Colin Powell in Biopic

    A tell-all memoir about life as a prison officer delivers only generic entertainment in the routine British low-budgeter “Screwed.” Adapted from Ronnie Thompson’s colorful expose of the same name, pic sees a former soldier trade one uniform for another, while negotiating regulation plotlines involving corrupt wardens, officially sanctioned criminality among prisoners, and cynical, careerist management. […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content