After penning the gritty, teen-gang kitchen-sinker “Shank,” Darren Flaxstone and Christian Martin don helmers’ hats for their priest-in-a-prison pic, “Release.” A swoony, ill-digested amalgam of Christian symbols, guilt-ridden flashbacks, sadistic shower-stall attacks, lyrically passionate sex scenes and dreams of liberation amid pussy willows, pic wears its beating heart on its tattooed sleeve. Opening Oct. 1 at Gotham’s Quad Cinema, “Release” may offer enough tender nude boffing and extended glimpses of charismatic lead Daniel Brocklebank, sans dog collar, to lure those geared more to fleshy than spiritual epiphanies.
Pic exalts the emotional and physical union of the beatifically smiling ex-Father Gillie (Brocklebank), jailed for practicing familial euthanasia, and compassionate prison guard Martin (Garry Summers). Against them are allied the hypocrisy of the church, the capriciousness of the law and the cruelty of a demonic penal system. This particular hellhole is ruled by a creepy, blue-latex-gloved inmate, Max (Bernie Hodges), who exacts bloody vengeance on a hapless teen (Wayne Virgo) while guards complacently look on. Max even strikes fear in the breast of the prison’s sex-starved femme warden (Dymphna Skehill).