Ghosts...Of the Civil Dead Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ June 5, 2012
"Ghosts of the Civil Dead" is Australian director John Hillcoat's first feature -- also, his first collaboration with musician/screenwriter Nick Cave (preceding "The Proposition," "The Road" and this year's "Lawless").

A vanguard prison trumpets its cleanliness and efficiency, but the corrupt staff conspires to push the inmates toward a self-destructive riot. There's not much more to the story, and "Ghosts" is one of those films where every character strains so hard to be grim, intense and frightening that you end up just rolling your eyes. I approached this movie as a Cave fan, and he indeed is the best reason to watch. During his feral heyday, he appears as a hate-speaking psychotic who spends all his screen time screaming vulgar abuse at whoever is unlucky enough to fall within eye range. Good fun. Alas, his crude score (composed with help from two of his band members) is little more than a loop of four ascending cello notes with wispy female moans on top.

Considering its harsh setting and premise, "Ghosts" is much less violent than expected. Most of the fights occur offscreen. This may be a cost-cutting measure as much as an aesthetic choice. But if you're keen to watch rugged men glowering in isolation, do not miss this film.
Super Reviewer
October 25, 2012
It's quite an unique film, but uneasy to watch. The narration is quite different, the film techniques are extraordinary. I must say the screen play is somewhat scattered, with non-directional editing. The use of colour for the prison was pretty interesting, but the film failed to provide any entertainment. The film is, very Aussie indeed, but also very unrealistic (The character-Lily is kinda disturbing to watch)
½ May 24, 2011
Vastly understated gritty prison drama which displays horrid details of humankind via an unjust and irrational prison system. Slow and gradually eerie, but with many missed opportunities.
October 26, 2009
A fairly unhappy prison movie. There aren't really any characters to relate to. Typical Australian grittiness and brutality. Nick Cave's in it.
June 18, 2013
Ghosts...Of the Civil Dead, I believe was well advanced in what the prison system, of today was to become, I have seen what they where like, from the 70s through to the 80s, 90s also into 2000s, for what it is worth, I found Ghosts...Of the Civil Dead to be spot on, based on reality and delivered, with great casting, I have to add...that I was also an extra in this movie, along with my younger brother, we played as our selves, I am also on the original DVD cover, I am the one with the thick beard and the eagle on my chest, my name is Roy Farrell, I was and still are very happy to have been, even as small a part I played, and the full size color poster of me, I am recognized all around the world, even long after I pass from this world, great movie....John Hillcoat, great story......!
Nick Cave, played as prisoner "Maynard' a sick minded criminal, was good, a little more than was needed, great score of music through out though.
David Field, I met dave on set, whilst doing a mock up role play of the prisoners starting a riot, I started it of when they said action...by grabbing David Field down the stairs and assaulting him like there was no tomorrow, they had to stop us I remember as it was thought to be a real fight, I guess, I will say well acted, my overall view of this movie...."GREAT MOVIE"
½ May 5, 2013
Unsettling and at times repulsive, the film nevertheless brings a dark insight to bear which is as difficult to reconcile as it is to argue with.
Super Reviewer
October 25, 2012
It's quite an unique film, but uneasy to watch. The narration is quite different, the film techniques are extraordinary. I must say the screen play is somewhat scattered, with non-directional editing. The use of colour for the prison was pretty interesting, but the film failed to provide any entertainment. The film is, very Aussie indeed, but also very unrealistic (The character-Lily is kinda disturbing to watch)
June 18, 2012
Vicious circle: the psychotic inmates and the dictatoric prison facility creates civiliter mortuus from everybody among the walls of the prison. Hillcoat's apocalypse takes place in a prison and with one exception he never shows physical brutality, but many psychological and uses a cold, sterile and objective eyesight. That's why Ghosts... of the Civil Dead is even more shocking than The Proposition and The Road.
June 18, 2012
madness, scary, real. What to show your teenager when he's acting out and putting on the bad attitude, this will show that there is baddies out there and you definitely don't want to be living with them in a place like this. a great eye-opener. Keep your doors and windows locked, you never know who may be out there....
January 29, 2012
It's a depressingly ultra-realistic and overlooked aussie film, I'm supprised the Police havn't tryed to ban it like the Snouts in the Trough book has been.
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