Lockdown is a letdown
By a customer
from Leicester, UK
, 15 Mar 2005
I love prison movies and had high hopes for Lockdown, but unfortunately I was not impressed. Lockdown is about three friends who get framed for armed robbery and sent to a brutal New Mexico prison. So far, so good. But any film based on a wrong conviction had better handle the trial skillfully or run the risk of glibness. Sadly Lockdown brazenly glosses over the trial, so we're forced to accept the verdict without any details whatsoever, and important questions loom large. For example, what about the friends' alibis? What about CCTV? What about forensic evidence? These questions bugged me throughout the whole film.
Once in prison, the film has an even bigger problem, which is that the 'friends' practically disown each other for no apparent reason. I was expecting the relationship between the three to be the emotional drive in the movie but was sorely disappointed. The youngest and most vulnerable of the three, Dre, is virtually held hostage by a psycho cellmate yet the other two don't even acknowledge his absence. This is even more puzzling when you realise that Avery (one of the friends) is dating Dre's sister. Yet halfway through the film, we're supposed to root for Avery when he suddenly decides to protect Dre and takes on a vicious gang to do it...?
Meanwhile, Avery's girlfriend and a college scout (Avery was a promising athlete on the outside and seemed to be headed for college), are conducting their own investigations to overturn the verdict. Why a busy college scout would put so much time and effort into clearing Avery's name is never adequately explained, and it's also pretty laughable when you learn that the scout's niece is a defense lawyer. What luck! But, really, even that silly development is arbitrary because the investigation depends on an oh-so-convenient plot device anyway.
Lockdown does have some good things going for it. The gritty day-to-day life depicted in the film is gripping enough, provided you're willing to ignore all the obvious plot holes. There's some memorable dialog ('Grab a cig, nig!'), and the film does a decent job of conveying the hate and violence that simmers under the surface of the prison. Some of the characters are genuinely frightening too. Shark Fralich is particularly effective as 'Graffiti,' a tattooed thug with an unmistakably psychopathic look in his eyes.
By far the biggest problem with Lockdown however is that this film doesn't have anything to say about its subject. In a country where one in every eight black men between the ages of 20 and 34 is currently behind bars--seven times the rate for white men of the same age--you'd expect a film like Lockdown to confront the racism in the American (in)justice system for what it is. Yet Lockdown seems inexplicably silent on the issue, which to me is a great shame as it could've been a good vehicle to address these issues.
- Was this review helpful to you?
(4) Yes |