6 out of 10
Release Date: 24th June 2011
Director: Craig Viveiros
Cast: John Lynch, Martin Compston, Craig Parkinson, Art Malik, David Schofield, Doug Allen, Amanda Abbington, Neil Maskell, Peter Barrett, Andy Linden, Simon Phillips with Hugh Quarshie and Peter Wight
Writer: Craig Viveiros
Here’s a persuasive, extremely well acted prison drama. Its better than recent efforts Screwed and Offender for starters. Unfortunately in story terms it is hugely let down by a climatic story revelation that is so unnecessary it throws away everything that has gone before. Its a shame because Ghosted has so much much going for it than said rival UK productions. Jack (JOHN LYNCH – SOME MOTHER’S SON) is an old lag whose sentence is coming to an end. For reasons of his own, he dreads the day he will be freed. Paul, played by the ubiquitous Martin Compston (7LIVES) is the young inmate Jack takes under his wing after ward psycho, Clay makes a beeline for him. Clay wants Paul to help out with his drug ring and maybe more. It’s a dark battle for the soul as Paul naively sets out taking the safer route by accepting the false protection offered by Clay and his cronies. Events clarify Paul’s situation and it’s not too long before some particularly nasty goings on happen that the Prison Officers step in. Jack requests that Paul move to his cell and a firm friendship is forged. This isn’t a British Kiss Of The Spider Woman though. This is a film about missed opportunities and surrogate family bonds that are forged in prison. It sets its stall out in Scum Street and for the most part turns its various cliches and staples to it’s advantage. Making an original prison movie is a tall order but throwing in one of the most jaw dropping plot turns to make it stand out derails this near excellent effort. No plot spoilers here though. Le Prophet managed despite some very strange additions to the porridge.
Ghosted has a particularly strong cast, amongst which is the very reliable Neil Maskell (KILL LIST) as Clay’s mouthy oppo, veteran Art Malik (TRUE LIES) who also produces, as Jack’s Islamic confident and David Schofield (F) as the head screw, who runs the ward with an iron rod. Familiar faces from independent flicks like Simon Phillips (UFO) and Peter Barrett (THE RISE AND FALL OF A WHITE COLLAR HOOLIGAN) pop up in smaller roles. Best of all is Holby City‘s Hugh Quarshie who stretches a little a long way as a Caribbean hard man waiting for Clay to put a foot wrong. John Lynch and Martin Compston are nothing less than compelling in the lead roles and Craig Parkinson is really really creepy and odious in a thankless role. Whenever the tables turn and the balance of power wobbles on the wing his cold sweaty fear is palpable. There are rare moments of lightness in Ghosted, we only escape from the prison via some home movie memories and a single flashback. The sky is never glimpsed and the claustrophobic setting ramps the tension up.
6 out of 10 – A near perfect piece of prison set story telling bolstered by some great acting from a fine cast and good direction. The last ten minutes though throw much of the effort away on a ridiculous turn of events. You’ll spit. It’s that bad. But at least the makers tried something different.
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?
- John Lynch: Scintilla, Private Peaceful, The Hot Potato, Ghosted, Black Death, The Tournament, Sliding Doors, The Secret Of Roan Inish, The Secret Garden (1993), In The Name Of The Father, Angel Baby, The Tournament, Best, This Is The Sea, Some Mother’s Son, Moll Flanders (1996), Nothing Personal, Princess Caraboo, Edward II, Hardware, Cal
- Martin Compston: Filth, The Wee Man, When The Lights Went Out, 7Lives, Strippers Vs. Werewolves, Four, Piggy, The Disappearance Of Alice Creed, How To Stop Being a Loser, Pimp, True North, The Damned Utd, Doomsday, Red Road, Tickets, Sweet Sixteen
- Craig Parkinson: When The Lights Go Out, Brighton Rock (2011), Four Lions, Control
- Art Malik: Diana, John Carter, Everywhere + Nowhere, Sex & The City 2, The Wolfman, Franklyn, Dean Spanley, Booty Call, Clockwork Mice, True Lies, City Of Joy, Turtle Beach, James Bond – The Living Daylights, A Passage To India
- David Schofield: The Last Passenger, All Things To All Men, F, Devil’s Bridge, Burke & Hare, The Pirates Of The Caribbean 1 – 3, The Wolfman, Valkyrie, The Musketeer, From Hell, Gladiator (2000), Anna Karenina (1997), An American Werewolf In London
- Doug Allen: Anti-Social, We Are Monster, The Guvnors, Sniper 5, The Firm (2009), Gangster No.1
- Amanda Abbington: Sherlock Holmes (TV), The Good Night
- Hugh Quarshie: Holby City (TV), Casualty (TV), It Was An Accident, Star Wars – Phantom Menace, Nightbreed, Highlander
- Peter Barrett: The Hooligan Factory, Shame The Devil, White Collar Hooligan 2, Fall Of The Essex Boys, UFO (2013), GBH, The Rise and Fall Of a White Collar Hooligan 1 Airborne (2012), Ghosted, Jack Falls
- Simon Phillips: White Collar Hooligan 3, The Last Scout, Shame The Devil, Hooligan Wars, Dangerous Mind of a Hooligan, He Who Dares, White Collar Hooligan 2, Fall Of The Essex Boys, UFO (2013), The Rise and Fall Of a White Collar Hooligan, Strippers Vs. Werewolves, Airborne, The Reverend (2012), Ghosted, How to Stop Being a Loser, Kill Keith, Jack Falls, Jack Said, Jack Says, The Last Seven, Just For The Record, Risen, Cut
- Andy Linden: We Still Kill The Old Way, Huge, Big Fat Gypsy Gangster, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows – part 1
- Neil Maskell: Hyena, Enemy of Man, The Rise, Dates (TV), Utopia (TV), Pusher (2012), Turnout, Ghosted, St. George’s Day, Piggy, Wild Bill (2012), Kill List, Tony, Bonded By Blood, How To Stop Being a Loser, Jack Falls, Doghouse, Paintball, Rise Of The Footsoldier, It’s All Gone Pete Tong, The Football Factory, Nil By Mouth
- Peter Wight: Kon Tiki, The Look Of Love, Clone, Hardboiled Sweets, Best Laid Plans (2012), Another Year, Cass, Hot Fuzz, Babel, Pride & Prejudice (2005), Vera Drake, Shiner, Naked, Meantime