Civil Brand (2003) - Rotten Tomatoes

Civil Brand (2003)

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Television director Neema Barnette directs the forceful drama Civil Brand, based on a story by Preston A. Whitmore II. Shot with a micro-budget of 500,000 dollars, the film stars confrontational rap and hip-hop artists Mos Def, MC Lyte, and Da Brat. The story concerns a women's prison that exploits its largely African-American inmate population as cheap labor to manufacture products for a corporation. Mostly incarcerated due to domestic violence situations, the inmates also face sexual abuse as the hands of the prison staff, headed by Captain Deese (Clifton Powell) and Warden Nelson (Reed McCants). Accused of murder, Frances Shepard (Lisa Rae) joins forces with inmates Little Momma (Lark Voorhies), Wet (Monica Calhoun), and Nikki Barnes (N'Bushe Wright), as well as law student Michael (Mos Def), in order to start an uprising.

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Cast

LisaRaye McCoy
as Frances Shepard
N'Bushe Wright
as Nikki Barnes
Da Brat
as Sabrina
Clifton Powell
as Captain Dease
Reed R. McCants
as Warden Nelson
Lark Voorhies
as Little Momma
MC Lyte
as Sgt. Cervantes
Lisa Ray
as Frances Shepard
Yasiin Bey
as Michael Meadows
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Critic Reviews for Civil Brand

All Critics (19) | Top Critics (10)

It's impossible to ignore the strain of misogyny that taints the movie.

October 16, 2003 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…
New York Daily News
Top Critic

It's guilty of gross B-movie meltdown, but mitigating circumstances include honest anger and a scattering of vivid scenes.

October 13, 2003
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic

Barnette, a veteran TV director, means this as an exposé of prison abuse and exploitation, but the film is too simplistic and derivative to succeed.

October 10, 2003 | Rating: 1/4
New York Post
Top Critic

Artistically, its heavy-handed clumsiness undercuts its goals.

October 10, 2003 | Rating: D
Detroit News
Top Critic

It presents a heated-up, awkward blend of earnest outrage and down-and-dirty exploitation.

October 9, 2003 | Rating: 2/5
New York Times
Top Critic

Plagued by continuity problems, ham-fisted storytelling and a problematic voiceover by Da Brat, Civil Brand feels less like a prison movie than a prison sentence.

October 9, 2003 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

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