It's worth mentioning to start that this is a Christian movie. Now, I'm a Christian - I have no problem with Christian movies. Some I like, some I don't - but Christians have a right to make movies that promote Christian faith and spiritual transformation. But I was a bit taken aback to discover that this was a Christian movie - because there's nothing in its description that would make you think it's a Christian movie. Actually, you have to pretty much wait for the closing credits to discover that one organization that appears to have been highly involved in putting this together was a church (whose name I just can't remember) that appears to be an Australian evangelical church. Which, again, is perfectly fair. I just wish it had been stated outright. The story - based apparently on an actual case - that is described sounds interesting. A young man (played by an Australian actor named Nathan Wilson) is falsely accused and convicted of rape and has to find a way to survive in prison while awaiting his appeal. That actually sounds pretty interesting - and it's not at all a bad movie - but once you get into it you discover that it's much more a movie about Christian conversion than surviving prison (not that the two aren't related in this case.) At times, the religious element comes across as a bit forced and unnatural - and there's a weird scene of what seemed to be a kind of forced baptism of another inmate that somehow magically converts him! (If it were that simple we Christians should just go out on the streets with buckets of water and splash unsuspecting people on the head!) So, while I'm all in favour of Christian movies and evangelism, I was just a bit put off by how it was all handled.
The story itself seemed a little bit choppy. It starts very abruptly. We learn that Will (Wilson) is a nurse - a pretty good one apparently - who hooks up with a girl at a bar, has sex with her and then has her accuse him of rape. It apparently had something to do with her wanting to get her boyfriend jealous or something. I didn't think the incident was well portrayed or sufficiently explained. But we do know that Will gets convicted and sent to prison. The prison story to me remained choppy and poorly put together. It gave us a taste of what life must be like inside a prison in Australia (and, presumably, most Western countries) but it was only a taste. Will develops relationships with several prisoners who guide him through the experience. To be honest, although he clearly wanted out, it didn't seem as if he had that hard a time on the inside. There was a good performance (maybe the best in the movie) from Martin Sacks as Jimmy Cove - a tough, veteran inmate who befriends Will. Otherwise, the performances were OK, but not spectacular in my opinion.
Most of the movie, basically, is the tension of waiting to find out if Will's appeal is going to be successful and he's going to be released. I have to say that this doesn't present a particularly flattering portrayal of the Australian justice system. If the movie is accurate, the evidence against Will was flimsy at best, there was a lot of reason for reasonable doubt and yet still the Crown also appeals the verdict to get his sentence INCREASED. Which means that, knowing that he's innocent, you feel a lot of sympathy for Will, and you want him to get out. So, for that reason alone, the movie does hold your attention. (5/10)