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Music From The Big House,
This review is from: Music From the Big House (DVD)
Music From the Big House was an incredibly touching film that shows us an aspect of the prison system that is usually overlooked, the talent of the individuals within the prison. All of the individual inmates who get interviewed in the film are very musically gifted. Showing us several different bands that formed within the prison, the final concert that Rita Chiarelli put on with them has varied musical types: Country, Blues, Jazz, and Gospel. Rita acts as a guiding force or narrator as we follow her specific journey into Angola prison. Her unique viewpoint on the prisoners' situation makes any viewer question what is really going on inside these prisons. She makes a great point in saying that "we" on the outside feel like we are unaffected by what goes on inside the prisons, but the pain of those individuals trickles down through their families and friends. But Rita also is sure to keep in mind that there are victims out there who are suffering the loss that these men now hold the guilt for. She feels a strange moral quandary when working with group, for she begins to love them, they are good people. From the viewers perspective we pick up on this as well. With many interview bits jumping in-between the musical numbers, we get to know each character, each person relatively well. The film does a good job of putting us into the shoes an perspective of the Angola prisoners and how they deal with "the knowledge that they are going to die in there." For many men, coming to prison was actually a saving grace that allowed them to leave their foolish youth behind and accept a more compassionate and loving lifestyle through the church. Overall the film leaves you off feeling like, wow, these are changed people, good people, talented and inspirational individuals living within Angola prison, but then the carpet is pulled out from under you as their violent and malicious crimes are revealed to you. Music From The Big House makes you question whether or not you can forgive people for such horrific crimes, whether people can actually change or not.