‘GHOSTED’ tells a story of survival inside a British Prison. Jack a model prisoner, has kept his head down and done his time. After his wife confirms that she is leaving him, on the anniversary of their son’s death, the only thing that keeps him from going under is the new prisoner, Paul. Jack’s cell mate Ahmed, attempts to guide him on a path of salvation, a path that involves saving Paul from the clutches of the wing beast, Clay.
Director – Craig Viveiros
Starring – John Lynch, Martin Compston, Craig Parkinson
Prison movies can be a hard watch. Like any genre they come with their own clichés and conventions. You have your psycho inmate who wants to run things his way, your shanks and stabbings, your prison rape, your power play struggles between clicks and so on. Just from that list you can see how hard it can be to come up with something slightly different from your run of the mill prison film.
Writer and director Craig Viveiros manages to do just that with his film Ghosted. Yes, the film does contain all of the conventions listed above but it throws in some twists that make for quite a fascinating watch. Some viewers might guess where the film might be headed. For me, I didn’t see it coming which of course made it all that much better.
Jack (played by John Lynch) is in prison and at the start of the movie we get a glimpse into his past life with his family. Through home movie footage we see him in much happier times with his wife and little boy as they play in their backyard. But prison time has taken its toll. His son has since died and his wife has decided to leave him. Crushed at this latest bit of news he rushes into his cell and tears down all of their pictures off of his wall. It’s the final straw for Jack and life for the moment seems hopeless.
Enter Paul (the wonderful Martin Compston), a new prisoner who is in for arson. Jack immediately sees something in him but so does Clay (Craig Parkinson), the tough, slightly psychotic leader of their particular wing. Jack doesn’t want to see Paul go down the wrong path with Clay and decides, with a little nudging from his cellmate, to take him under his wing, so to speak. Not only to offer protection, but to talk and guide him to hopefully a better future, perhaps one outside of the prison walls.
And so the story of redemption is set into motion. As Jack’s cellmate says, “sometimes all you need to start over is a little self belief…something to be proud of.” They get along wonderfully and Jack discovers that Paul has a real knack for drawing. This revelation only seems to enforce to Jack the idea that he will be able to make a real difference. But things aren’t always what they seem, life is never really that straightforward and complications are never far away.
Ghosted is a really well done film that really had me wondering what was going to happen next. In a contained movie such as this, where you’re only going to have three or four locations, it really helps if you like and are invested in the characters. Craig Viveiros not only does a great job scripting the characters but the acting is superb all the way around. John Lynch is perfect as the aging prisoner who sees not only himself in Paul but a chance to correct some of the mistakes in his own life. Martin Compston (he was also in The Disappearance Of Alice Creed, which I reviewed here and he was great in that as well) does an excellent job of portraying Paul, a soft-spoken young man trying to find his way.
Craig Viveiros does a good job directing and the pace of the movie is pretty fast. Prison movies, even with their built in tension, can sometimes lag but not this one. Even during the heavy dialogue scenes there is such an undercurrent of emotion that it keeps the momentum going.
Ghosted is a film that I would recommend, especially to rent. I would hesitate to buy if only for the fact that prison movies are typically not your relaxing, lose yourself type of fare. The British accents are very thick and at times it can be hard to catch what all is being said. But believe me when I say that doesn’t distract from the overall movie. Ghosted is an above average film that manages to give a fresh look at life inside prison.