Director: Craig Viveiros
Cast: John Lynch, Craig Parkinson, Martin Compston
Do you remember the good old days, back when Porridge was on? Prison used to be a happy place. Full of laughter and comical misunderstandings. That’s all gone. Now it’s about innocent boys, corrupt screws and sweaty shower confrontations. All that gritty prison stuff that Un Prophete did so well. Of course, Ghosted is full of it. It's good stuff, but you wish Ronnie Barker would turn up and make a joke about women's naughty bits.
Paul (Compston) is an innocent boy, transferred to a jail that's full of bullies, cigarettes and all that other prisony stuff. In between the corrupt screws and sweaty shower confrontations, Paul meets Jack (Lynch). He's a good guy. You can tell because he shaves a lot, looks a bit like Gabriel Byrne, and uses Herbal Essences shampoo. The orange one.
As Paul settles in, he gets taken under the wing of the jail's Mr Big, Clay. Played intensely by Four Lions' Craig Parkinson, Clay's a menacing figure with a floppy, foppish fringe and unhinged temper. But John Lynch's father figure fights to keep young Paul on the straight and narrow, moving him into his cell, where things like orange Herbal Essences can be discussed freely.
It's all very obvious, but director Craig Viveiros' feature debut is a gripping drama, mainly because of the solid acting. Art Malik is only there to offer exposition, but the other performers have enough shades of grey to keep things interesting. In the lead, Compston's timid voice and guilt complex make his transformation behind bars believable.
Visually, it's also pretty strong. Viveiros shoots everything with a claustrophobic sense of nearby onlookers, even if he does get carried away with slow-motion shots of people staring into bathroom mirrors. Unfortunately, it all builds up to a violent twist that's as brutal as it is contrived. It's good to see a decent independent British debut, but it needs to be more original than this. Dragging halfway through its 102 minutes, you can tell exactly where the gritty prison stuff is going. And you don't need Un Prophete to tell you that.
A gripping but predictable prison drama, Ghosted is gritty enough to make you long for the good old days of Ronnie Barker.
What did you think?
- a prophet
- craig parkinson
- craig viveiros
- four lions
- john lynch
- martin compston
- un prophete