It's rare that a film this outraged is also this calm.
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The plaintive plain-spokenness of the interviewees, the way they matter-of-factly speak of atrocity, is transcendent and intensely haunting.
Ms. Story’s unconventional approach provokes responses that a traditional facts-and-figures discussion might not. Yet the film’s formal abstraction, far from creating emotional distance, is unexpectedly moving.
Story has made a potent political film without having to spray viewers with a fusillade of alarming numbers to back it up. She trusts viewers to intuit their way through fascinating anecdotes and detours that gain a cumulative power, one that data alone cannot possibly express.
Provocative and often fascinating, The Prison in Twelve Landscapes is an unsentimental look at the ways prisons shape life outside their walls, in places as disparate as Appalachia and Midtown Manhattan.