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JAILBAIT: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
Randy (Michael Pitt) commits a crime that would normally get him probation and a hefty fine, but in the world of "three-strikes and you're out" justice, he finds himself locked up for 25 years. His cellmate Jake (Stephen Adly Guirgis) is a congenial yet remorseless lifer who casually informs Randy that he slit his wife's throat because she slept with another man just three months after they exchanged vows. Jake recognizes Randy's fear and offers him advice on how to make it in prison. But it soon becomes clear that Jake has much more than mentoring in mind as he takes Randy under his wing.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Winner of two awards including Best Film at Lake Placid, Brett C. Leonard's debut Jailbait is an unusual prison movie in that it sets up a character study of two very different men sharing the same cell for very different crimes. Randy (Michael Pitt) is not even a crim; he's stupid, though, as Jake (Stephen Adly Guirgis) quickly tells him, because his petty antics of spraying paint on a brand new Mercedes - over a neighbourly spat - caused damage over $5000 which made it a felony - his third. His two previous strikes were for relatively minor drug offences, but this third strike lands him a 25 year stint. Seems steep, but this particular law is the target of Leonard's editorial spleen. Fair enough.

Leonard places the vulnerable Randy (Pitt looking pretty, too) into the orbit of a worldly Jake, who, justifiably to himself, slit his wife's throat three months into their Catholic marriage for sleeping with another man. He knew he was going to jail and waited for the cops. He's in for life. For Randy, jail will come to an end - albeit 25 years later. Not so for Jake.

These are the riffs that launch the film, as Jake begins to work on Randy's mind. It's the start of a power play between the two and Guirgis has the better role, if not the nicer one. He forces grotty, vulgar conversations about sexual encounters as he positions himself into the dominant role. And it's not just psychological domination he's after.

Originally a stage play, the film doesn't have to 'open out' since it's set almost entirely in a jail cell. Leonard uses gut busting dialogue, silences, ambient noise that passes for soundtrack and the blistering performance of Guirgis contrasting with the mumbling, submissive work of Pitt. But it's tough stuff, even if we're not quite sure what it's actually about.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

JAILBAIT: DVD (MA)
(US, 2004)

CAST: Stephen Adly Guirgis, Michael Pitt, Laila Robins, David Zayas, Eric Trosman

PRODUCER: Rene Bastian, Corbin Day, Brett C. Leonard, Linda Moran, Dan O'Meara

DIRECTOR: Brett C. Leonard

SCRIPT: Brett C. Leonard

CINEMATOGRAPHER: John J. Campbell

EDITOR: Ron Len

MUSIC: Ed Tomney

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Ernesto Solo

RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes

PRESENTATION: 16:9; DD 5.1

SPECIAL FEATURES: none

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Peacock Films

DVD RELEASE: July 23, 2009







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