12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "There is NO violence here!"
Callous, cruel and cold-hearted best summarises the 1979 British film `Scum', starring Ray Winstone who portrays the role of Carlin; a prisoner transferred to a borstal in London. His character depicts the role of many inmates at the time, where prison systems endorsed a much harsher treatment to their inmates as a form of punishment. The film follows the character of...
Published on 28 Dec 2011 by Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars dvd scum
when I received this item I didn't unwrap it for ages, but when I did it was faulty, I didn't make a complaint about it as it was my own fault!
Published 8 months ago by RAGGA
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "There is NO violence here!",
Callous, cruel and cold-hearted best summarises the 1979 British film `Scum', starring Ray Winstone who portrays the role of Carlin; a prisoner transferred to a borstal in London. His character depicts the role of many inmates at the time, where prison systems endorsed a much harsher treatment to their inmates as a form of punishment. The film follows the character of Carlin amongst other characters and exposes what their experiences were like in a strictly controlled prison system by menacing prison guards.
Throughout the film there are explicit scenes of violence, rape and suicide. There is also the continuous use of strong language and racists remarks. The protagonists authenticated such scenes of violence especially the rape and suicide scenes. At the time of filming this too must have been sensitive to film, just as much as it would be in the present day; however this just depicts the true harshness and disturbing behaviour that occurred in borstals. The film clearly depicts the severity of the conditions in which the inmates had to deal with; it is this that demonstrates how prison systems have changed.
Scum's interpretation of borstal system in the 1970's is in contrast to today's prison/ detention centres where the environment in which the inmates are exposed to is of a calmer nature. Some may argue that today's prison systems are much more lenient in terms of punishment received and how they are treated in such places. Thus this asserts the question of whether today's prison systems are lenient; is it true that prisons today offer a more privileged system?
There are obvious signs that there were no appropriate rehabilitation schemes for the prisoners in the film. Instead there was no care for the prisoners at all, as the guards themselves treated the prisoners harshly by using physical violence where they had no right to. The guards may have shown such violence to optimise their authority and simply subdue the 'scum' that were the inmates. The film clearly showed that the inmates did not gain anything from it, there is a point in the film where the inmates finally retaliate by causing havoc in the dining hall, and the guards simply retreat, thus revealing that enforcing violence only leads to violence. Furthermore, throughout the film the guards show no remorse for the inmates who are being attacked, such as the young offender being gang raped or the constant use of racial remarks; the guards do nothing. The most disturbing part of the film was where the guard saw the gang-rape and still did nothing to stop them. However, in the present day, conditions in prison systems are different. There are CCTV cameras thus the guards would not be allowed to get away with treating the inmates so violently, and concurrently the inmates would not be allowed to get away with treating the other inmates inhumanly.
The film showed that there were no sign of reformation, however nowadays at least there are programmes which can have positive effects such as educational and behavioural treatments. Each inmate should be assessed individually not collectively like in the film where they had group discussions, led by the matron; there was no structure to the session and did not seem to be beneficial. Treatment has to be relevant to the individual, in terms of needs and what problems need to be addressed.
Disgusting and disturbing best describes this film; it only reflects the harshness of what it was like in borstal systems in the 1970s. I strongly believe that the disciplinary system of the 1970s should not be brought back; even though the film is dated and only depicts the interpretation of the director, it clearly showed that no benefit comes from a punitive system; it just leads to more chaos. More research needs to be conducted into the treatments of rehabilitation of young offenders.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Film.,
Admire Ray Winstone as an actor and person and was curious about his early work.Although I found the film a bit disturbing it was still good and British made.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where's your tool?,
By A Customer
As films set in borstal go this has to be one of the best. The cast includes a young Ray Winston and a number of extras from the Bill. The comedy of Archer and the despair of Davies make this a stimulating and disturbing portrayal of life in a young offenders institution. Carling's ascension to the role of 'Daddy' is swift and violent with those who have conspired against him being clinically dealt with. Carling's methods are cold and calculated, but in turn extremely effective. Other characters include Archer, a man whose sole aim in life is to make life difficult for the 'screws' by not conforming to the strict borstal regime.
If you enjoy disturbing British cinema from the seventies then Scum is for you. The violence is graphic and the language is strong, but there is also humour and a genuine insight into the disturbing world of Borstal life.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great,
after all these years still as good. bought this cause the mrs didn't know where the cockney from the betting ads came from.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cold-hearted and hard watching,
Harrowing, cold-hearted and engrossing are just a few words to describe the 1979 film Scum, directed by Alan Clarke and written by Roy Minton. It shows the apparent brutality within a 1970's British borstal, including hard watching scenes of violence, racism, suicide and most notoriously rape. The film follows the experiences of Ray Winstone's character, "4737, Carlin" and other inmates; as they struggle for justice among themselves and from the crooked wardens.
The film starts with three young men in a police vehicle: Angel, Davis, and Carlin, being driven to a borstal. Scum does not reveal the convictions of these three men, but emphasises more upon the borstal environment. In 1902, borstals were introduced for young male offenders to protect them from the influence of older offenders. They were designed to be religious and educational, with a focus upon military routine, discipline and authority. As shown throughout the film, there was a strong belief on the use of corporal punishment as an effective way to suppress delinquent behaviour. Scum portrayed life within borstals as a continual conflict between the inmates and wardens ("screws") through scenes of violence, racism, suicide and rape. Inmates would fight among each other in order to gain hierarchy power, with the top status as "The Daddy". Wardens would take full advantage of their authority, often beating inmates and turning a blind eye to incidents involving "The Daddy", as he was deemed to have leadership qualities. Scum leads viewers to see the matron as a mother figure for inmates, during group discussion sessions, but similar to the wardens; she does not show any compassion or sympathy towards them. Inmates were unable to speak up about the continual abuse, for being known as a "grass" doesn't bode well within this environment. The harsh reality was that the film Scum actually showed incidents that frequently occurred within borstals; yet highlights the ineffective borstal system. In 1982, shortly after Scum was released, borstals were abolished and instead Young Offender Institutions were introduced.
Scum showed the effects of continual corporal punishment on inmates. Most notably when the inmates hear of the suicide of Davis following a rape attack; Carlin, now known as "the daddy", prompts a riot and in the final scenes is seen bloody and unconscious after a thorough beating from the wardens. If these are similar to reality of borstals, then it would show corporal punishment as effective only for short term means; but may increase delinquent behaviour and subsequently lead to re-offending.
This therefore leads to the widespread view of whether the current justice system is too "soft" on criminals. Many of the public have a consensus agreement that harsher and corporal punishment should be brought back; this view has especially been raised due to the recent London riots. Current Youth Offender Institutions have a different take on criminal punishment and is based on restorative justice principles. It focuses more upon offenders taking responsibility for their wrong doings through various means; for example education to ensure offenders fully understand the consequences of crime. Young offenders are examined individually, rather than in groups as Scum portrayed with the matron. This has shown to be much more effective upon reoffending rates, as it accommodates more to the individual needs.
From Scum, it is clear to see how the youth offending system has changed. CCTV cameras are now implemented in modern day institutions, so inmates can not abuse each other and vice versa with the wardens. The current approach has been improved on and seen to be better in reducing reoffending rates. It hasn't completely ruled out crime and reoffending; which is a possible reason as to why the public see this approach as too `soft' for criminals. So, may be a balance between restorative justice principles and corporal punishment will be more beneficial. Scum also highlights violence, sexual and racial abuse; violence and sexual abuse has been reduced, but sadly, racism is still a big part in today's society.
Scum brings to light the corruptive justice system in the 70's. The film depicts the harsh reality of borstals from the director's perception; it highlights the extreme rivalry within the inmate hierarchy and wardens taking full advantage of their position. From watching this film we learn that juveniles within a borstal do not take responsibility for their actions and due to the disturbing environment, inmates are led to commit more crimes; as seen through Carlin using violence as a tool for self-protection. Therefore, bringing back the borstals would bring no benefit for the justice system, in fact may make it worse and lead to higher re-offending rates. Scum is still seen as very controversial and valuable, however, the graphics are deemed as out-dated so a remake of the film may be more enticing for viewers.
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars,
Yea a good old classic
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars,
5.0 out of 5 stars Scum,
Just as arresting as I thought. Good script, superb visuals, and gritty moments.
Might have been repelled by this when I was 20, but not at 65.
Unflinching in its purpose. Well worth sticking with.
I'm glad I did.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great quality for cheap price.,
Great film, have tried to get this in stores but couldn't. But I found it here cheap great quality and works perfectly.
5.0 out of 5 stars In Borstal, survival rules,
An epic warning about the penal system. The story was originally made for the BBC, who have refused to screen. Alan Parker remade it, this is the result.
Ray Winston plays Carling, there is wall to wall violence, so viewer discretion strongly advised.
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Scum [VHS] by Alan Clarke (VHS Tape - 2001)