Search - Punishment Park (Std) on DVD

Punishment Park (Std)
Punishment Park
Actors: Carmen Argenziano, Stan Armsted, Patrick Boland, Ross Briegleb, Sandy Cox
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
R     2005     1hr 28min

"One of the finest films about dissent in America." ?Rolling Stone "Intense, outrageous and still relevant? a cult hit waiting to happen." ?The Boston Phoenix "Paralyzing. A devastating indictment and a chilling prognosis....  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Carmen Argenziano, Stan Armsted, Patrick Boland, Ross Briegleb, Sandy Cox
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Project X
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 11/22/2005
Original Release Date: 01/01/1971
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1971
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 1hr 28min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 7
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, French

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Movie Reviews

"Punishment Park" a fim by Peter Watkins
B. W. Brown | Chatham , NJ USA | 10/27/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It's unlikey that any film released in 2005 will rival "Punishment Park" for its combination of political urgency, blazing moral ardor and formal quile. Peter Watkins is the most marginalized film director of the 20th century. The release of this film is a watershed moment in the history of his career. For the first time America will have the opportunity to see this visionary, earth scorching missive and one of his very best films. If "Fahrenheit 9/11" was released in 1971 it would have been called "Punishment Park""
Timeless film about dissent
Anna Otto | Seattle, WA United States | 01/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It took me a few minutes into the film to realize it was shot in the early seventies and, in fact, was about the era of Nixon rather than the era of Bush. The similarities are creepy to say the least.

The film is about the state of national emergency proclaimed by the president of the United States, which gives permission to detain those who may be a threat to national security, who are then detained, often preemptively, judged by the tribunal that disregards constitutional rights of these "criminals," and given a choice between hard time in prison for years or hard time in punishment park for three days. Guess which one is worse? Still, everyone picks punishment park where they are forced to run through the desert in intolerable heat (or cold, at night), without water, toward a destination designated by the American flag. The purpose of the punishment park is to - well, punish - and train the law enforcement officers to deal with dissidents en masse.

The whole thing is so realistically done, including the lack of script for the tribunal scenes, where the actors on both sides of the fence spoke their own invented lines based on their own life experiences, that I had to take another few minutes to remind myself that we don't have punishment parks in America. According to the director's commentary, Danish media was convinced otherwise and protested punishment parks based on this movie, then was forced to retract their protest realizing belatedly the movie was fictional.

It's a visceral picture. There is more than one reason why it had been practically banned (or simply denied distribution) for decades: not only is it pointing fingers at just about every establishment, but it is also difficult d/t the violence and lack of humanity displayed on the screen. Yet, the sheer nerve and vision of this film are undeniable. Though the point of view of the director is unmistakably that the police is bad and the prisoners are decent people, I couldn't even call the film prejudiced. It does give both sides something to say."
Pablo Martin Podhorzer | Buenos Aires, Argentina | 08/10/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Regretably, reality is worst than this. Simply watch "The Road To Guantanamo" (Michael Winterbottom, in a similar style) for an example. Peter Watkins does what CNN, Sky and BBC cannot: express the contemporary experience with the use of a fiction (instead, those channels fail to show reality with the use of clips from the real).
Watkins' introduction to the film is excellent and work as one (so watch it before the film). Is also nice to finally put a face to Watkins' name."
Potent and relevant
Vikon | Australia | 08/18/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I first saw Peter Watkins's Punishment Park the year of its release and I have never forgotten my visceral almost painful reaction to it. At that time the film was a politically charged document with just enough narrative to carry the weight of its polemics through to its disconcerting conclusion. It was 1971, Nixon was in the White House and the Vietnam War dragged on, leaving many of us to feel that the politics of the day had doomed the social revolution of the late 60s. Despite some uncanny contemporary resonances, watching the film now, severed from its original moment in time but with the indelible emotional memory of my first experience of it, Punishment Park feels both distant and nostalgic. Nevertheless, it remains a potent achievement that represents anti-establishment filmmaking as a passion for justice and a commitment to socio-political change rather than entertainment or technological wizardry. This DVD is a perfect transfer of the original film, which was effectively shot on 16mm. The film concentrates its uncompromising message in its documentary style, so thankfully you won't come away distracted by praising the direction or performances, some of which do seem affected relative to today's standards of realism. Punishment Park stands for what it believes and its indictment remains relevant."