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Dog Pound

5/10

Stars: Shane Kippel, Adam Butcher, Mateo Morales, Bryan Murphy, Lawrence Bayne, Alexander Conti

Director: Kim Chapiron

A Canadian version of the controversial 1983 UK film Scum, set in a juvenile correctional facility, where the inmates are only marginally more brutal than the guards. Beatings, drugs, solitary, rape: all the ingredients of modern-day incarceration films are here.

The inmates include Davis (Kippel), a jack-the-lad fond of his own image, who's in for dealing drugs; Butch (Butcher), a powderkeg of suppressed violence, locked up for blinding a guard at another facility; and Angel, in for knifing a man in a car theft. All try to stay out of trouble; none succeeds.

Clich├ęs abound - a trio of bad guys terrorises the new boys - yet it's hard to see how some could have been avoided; and the film is well made and satisfactorily acted, although interpolated sex scenes seem inserted more to lighten the mood than to serve any useful purpose. Better suited to late-night TV and DVD sales, this stark little number with its cast of unknowns is likely to find few takers at the cinema.

David Quinlan

Canada/France 2009. UK Distributor: Optimum. Duboicolor.
91 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 18.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 2, Swearing 2.

Review date: 23 Aug 2010