Review-” Beautiful Prison” is the type of film that knows on paper what it wants to achieve, but finds difficulty in the execution once the reality starts to come to form. You have to give the film credit for at least trying to give us something unique. The film opens with this young guy named Ben. Ben seems to be a little messed up in the head from a childhood his sister remembers all too much. His sister and her old man are basically taking care of him. He has a job with a friend of his which his sister’s boyfriend is the boss. This relationship with Ben in the house has caused issues with his sister and her boyfriend. Ben also has a crush on an actress, who has become part of his life in the oddest of ways. This film should be broken down into two parts, a. what you get…b.what you expect. The first half hour of this film is a tough watch, you have the inner struggles of life thru the eyes of Ben. When Ben is accidentally hit by a car during a fight with his sister’s man, is when the film gets a little more depth to it and you really start to feel what they were aiming for. This film has a harsh look on abuse, and those scenes are at times very tough to watch. (Given, that I was a child of abuse, those scenes hit home in not such a good way) Those scenes were convincing and showcased what the acting talent really is about.
The problem I had was with everything else. I will not go over what happens after he gets in the hospital, as this film is a huge spoiler in itself. I hate when I feel an actor is trying to act a part, more than let me buy into a reality. We know that the story would be hard to pull off in the opening moments, you just had the feeling that all involved realized they were biting off more than they can chew. To their credit, they do fight and at times pull off a few good moments. The problem is that they should have given us so much more of them. The characters are not convincing until the abuse sequences play out, then they do showcase that they are capable of pulling off something. The first half hour of this film, the struggle to find an identity is key for what they are doing and trying to keep you involved with. This film really needed to just rely more on the faith of the viewer and not having to slowly display everything to us in some non caring fashion.
I love the theory that a film has to have a twist. This one was smart, it has a twist of sorts but then when you realize at the end what is going on, you will see it was never really a twist but just a clever disguise to tell a story. This film I hate to be so hard on it, it has so much good in it, like what I just mentioned in the twist format. This film also opens the door on abuse and the human condition. This presents a valid argument about childhood and how a family structure can either build or destroy us. The film had moments, but overall it was a miss. I will say, that the people involved in this film have talent and I feel with a good budget and more time, they will create something really special, but sadly this is not it.
5 out of 10