Stellan Skarsgård stars in this Norwegian film about a juvenile detention community and the inmates’ resistance to their cruel and oppressive captors. If you couldn’t guess, this is supposed to be based on a true story. I’m sure this is just my xenophobia, but this looks especially scary and foreboding because nobody is speaking English. Plus, ‘Devil’s Island’? It’s as if they are trying to imply this place was hell on earth. Might as well have called it King Of Prison Rape Cove.
See if you can follow this: This movie was originally shot with a theatrical release in mind, then re-edited into a miniseries for cable, then re-re-edited, with some re-shot footage for a theatrical release after it aired on TV. The theatrical version (which is over an hour shorter than the TV version) is the director’s preferred cut. Needless to say, this DVD release is the longer TV edit (164 minutes) and no one involved likes this version. If that and the title hasn’t sold you on it already, I’ll point out it stars Sean Astin and Ethan Embry (as characters named Frick and Frack) and Christopher Lloyd as the Wizard of Oz. Simply awful.
As the box cover so helpfully explains, this is the ‘flipside of Lost In Translation’. You see, instead of Americans experiencing Japan, this is about some Japanese people experiencing America. There’s a moment in the trailer where an American guy says to the Japanese girl, “I don’t know what you’re saying, and I’m telling you how I feel and it’s like, you don’t even care.” That’s so true, isn’t it? We always mistake miscommunication for ambivalence. I guess what I’m saying is, that opening shot from Lost In Translation, where it’s just Scarlett Johansson’s ass, was pretty great.
A British soldier returns from combat to the U.K. and wreaks havoc at the behest of Brian Cox. At a few points in the trailer, it implies that he kills young kids. It’s OK, though, because it was all inter-cut with shots of guns and drugs, like he’s cleaning up the streets. I don’t know if this looks good or bad, but I’ll definitely be turning on the subtitles if I watch it. I can barely understand “street” language as it is, let alone when spoken with British accents.