Short Eyes


Action / Drama


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July 18, 2015 at 02:53 PM


Mark Margolis as Mr. Morrison
Bruce Davison as Clark Davis
Shelly Desai as Other Inmate
720p 1080p
756.00 MB
23.976 fps
1hr 40 min
P/S 2 / 1
1.44 GB
23.976 fps
1hr 40 min
P/S 0 / 2

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Spikeopath 9 / 10

I don't know how much of a human being I would be if I met you on the sidewalk.

Short Eyes is directed by Robert M. Young and written by Miguel Piñero who adapts from his own play. It stars Bruce Davison, Jose Perez, Nathan George, Don Blakely, Curtis Mayfield and Shawn Elliott.

The Tombs, A House of Detention in New York City receives a new prisoner, white middle classed Clark Davis (Davison). He's charged with raping a young girl, quickly identified as a Short Eyes (paedophile) by the other inmates and lined up for hostility from the off. Only one prisoner is prepared to engage Clark in conversation, but with atmosphere on the block already bubbling at breaking point, Clark's innocence or guilt is most likely irrelevant.

One of the most sedate but effective prison based movies out there, Short Eyes comes with realism, intelligence and a conscience. Piñero's play was itself a success, so source was reliable for treatment, what transpires is a tale of prisoners co-existing under trying circumstances. But it's a hornets nest slowly being stirred by pent up sexual frustrations, egos, racial indifference and religion, once the suspected paedophile wanders into the equation you can literally see the tension starting to rise to the surface. Yet director and writer don't go for cliché prison shocks involving violence and rape, they gnaw away at the viewers by letting the hatred and break down of moral codes build by way of rich characterisations and dialogue. It helps greatly that the makers have started the picture off by giving us a solid 20 minutes of character build ups, thus letting us get to know the inhabitants and their place of incarceration.

Unity is powerful, but it can also be ugly.

Some of the monologue's are utterly compelling, delivered with extraordinary conviction by a cast keeping the material real. When the excellent Davison, who I applaud for taking on the sort of role many actors would run from, gets to pour out his words to Juan (Perez), it's most uncomfortable viewing, yet also it's heartbreaking as well. It was here that it dawned on me that Piñero's (himself an ex-convict) characters are not prison film stereotypes, they are complex human beings, neither sympathetic or villainous, and that's a real treat in this particular genre of film. The photography is purposely low-key and the music, mostly arranged by Soul maestro Curtis Mayfield (who also co-stars) eases around the prison walls. Both Mayfield and Freddy Fender get to sing and this acts as means to subdue the pressure cooker like mood.

This is not a prison film for those that need animalistic violence, this is very much a thinking persons prison piece. What violence there is is calmly constructed and acted by director and cast alike. The pivotal moment shocks, and rightly so, but here's the kicker, it doesn't shock as much as the monologue that closes out this most compelling and excellent of movies. 9/10

Reviewed by dougdoepke 8 / 10

Scared Straight

Short Eyes is to prison pictures what the atom bomb is to weaponry— powerful and frightening from one end to the other. In fact, I'm surprised the movie got made at all since it's got all the commercial appeal of live surgery. But once you start watching, you can't stop. The characters are real and riveting, the setting an actual prison (The Tombs), and the violence sudden and brutal. It's almost like being in prison, except thankfully you're not.

The story is about one floor of the lockup where the packed-in racial groups appear poised for combat like Europe in 1914. There's a tense truce as long as Whites, Blacks, and Browns observe the unwritten rules and don't invade the wrong space. Too bad they're not making music all the time because that's the only time they seem in harmony. Then into this tense mix comes a guy everyone can despise, a child-molester (Davison). Worse, he's a white guy who even looks like "the man". So he's got as much chance of surviving as a minnow has among sharks-- that is, if the authorities don't pull him out first. And, kind of surprisingly, we wish they would since after listening to his "story", he seems more pathetic than wicked.

Two things to note. Catch how difficult it is for any kind of humanity to survive amid racially charged, oppressive conditions that the authorities (guards, supervisors) only make worse. Juan (Perez) wants to cling to some vestige, but he's got to do it within the unwritten rules. And, in this testosterone-soaked atmosphere, the problem isn't just ethnic, it's other guys in general. However, the most nightmarish part is the threat of emasculation, men being denied their identity and turned into substitute women. That scene in the shower between Cupcakes and Paco may be more unsettling than even the knifing in Psycho (1960). I expect this loss of sexual identity may be the most unnerving part of a genuinely frightening movie, by which Hollywood's prison films pale in comparison.

Reviewed by zetes 10 / 10

A masterpiece

Maybe the best prison film ever made because its origin is people who were actually in prison, most notably its main author, Miguel Piñero. The film deals with the interrelationship between the prisoners of a cell block. That's what most of the film is, the observation of these men and their culture. The plot of the film is about a new arrival (Bruce Davison) who has been arrested as a suspect on a child molestation charge. He's never been in prison, and he's very afraid, which, of course, he should be. Short Eyes doesn't make any easy choices at all, which makes for a particularly uncomfortable movie to watch. But it also makes it one of the gutsiest and most important films ever made, and it's one of the best movies I've ever seen. It's one of only two movies that I've ever watched twice right in a row. Well, the second time was with commentary by the director (and another man, whose participation in the film I don't exactly know), because I wanted to know exactly how this film came about, and to confirm my guess that there was some kind of inside track to prison life behind the scenes. There was far more than I could have guessed; the commentary also ranks as one of the best I've ever listened to. A masterpiece.

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