Back from a gruelling tour in Iraq, Sam Norwood (James D’Arcy) takes a job as a screw in his local prison. He soon realises that his new life also has its share of dangers.
After barely surviving a tour of Iraq, James D’Arcy’s squaddie takes a job as a prison officer at HMP Romwell, where bent screws, blunt violence and a constantly frowning Noel Clarke begin to take their toll. Despite its claims of credibility (it’s based on the experiences of warden-turned-author Ronnie Thompson), Reg Traviss’ film is stubbornly retro stuff. Laundry room shivvings, corrupt guvnors, kingpins, riots, snitches, bang-ups... It’s like a WikiPorridge of every British clink flick you’ve ever seen, and all shot in a familiar cold, hard stare. Still, at least the cast are committed to the cause — D’Arcy is convincingly feral, and the fearsome Frank Harper supplies plenty of callous crackle as a coke-snorting daddy screw.
D’Arcy and Harper excel and there's the odd punch packed, but otherwise it's an identity parade of prison clichés you've seen a thousand times.
Reviewed by Simon Crook