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"Turned Out" in Orlando and Review from Susan Adams



From Susan Adams, Forbes,
Interlock Advisory Board


A surprisingly touching and revelatory film about a brutal subject: prison rape. After shooting for 100 hours inside 14 different correctional facilities, director Jonathan Schwartz and his crew honed in on the story of a handful of men at a cash-strapped Alabama prison called Limestone. The inmates describe the complex, conflicting emotions, ranging from brutality to tenderness and even love, that develop over time as they engage in a sex ring where prisoners are "turned out," and then traded for favors, cigarettes and snacks.

Mindy, a young blonde with a beautiful face, is haunting and sexy as he talks about how he developed feelings for Lamarck, the man who raped him. When Lamarck describes the excitement and thrill of overcoming his conquests, it is a window onto a disturbing, base element of human nature. The film also shows footage from a prison in Florida, including undercover shots of a warden attempting to rape an inmate.

Shot mostly inside prison walls, with interviews that run long, the film nevertheless moves briskly, helped by a great soundtrack of "dirty south" music, including several cuts by southern rapper C-Nile. Narrator Danny Trejo, a former inmate himself, lends credibility and soul.

The first ever full-length documentary on prison rape, the making of Turned Out played a hand in the Bush Administration's passing the Prison Rape Elimination Act, requiring the Justice Department to come up with a strategy for combating sexual assault behind bars. The film has also proved cathartic to rape survivors, leading many to seek therapy. For a general audience, Turned Out is riveting viewing. With impressive sensitivity and grace, the filmmakers shed light on one of the darkest corners of the penal system.

The DVD's supplemental materials include segments worth watching, including a rocking music video by C-Nile. Director Schwartz's articulate commentary is full of fascinating details about the film's production and the subject of prison rape.

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