Music from the Big House Reviews
Chiarelli deserves recognition for this spectacular film. In our society, we tend to forget that prisoners are human too and despite their mistakes they have thoughts running through their minds and emotions coursing through their veins. She gives them a chance to prove themselves and make something of their lives, where most of us would not even dare. Throughout the documentary one develops a connections with several of the Angola Prison inmates interviewed. This film succeeds in helping the audience view prisoners for more than just their crimes. An unconventional feat, it is an inspiring story that attempts to progress societal views and reform the prison system. Everyone should watch.
Seeing the different prisoners perform in their respective bands they had formed was awesome and these men knew their instruments. I liked how organic the movie was, it just trudged on at its own pace and there were no fancy frills to distract it from its path. A couple close ups of some of these inmates just playing their instruments were some of my favorite scenes. One man plays his harmonica with such quiet confidence that you can't help but feel his passion. During that and similar scenes I couldn't help but try and figure out what these inmates were thinking, what could possibly be going on in their minds. I can't imagine knowing that the rest of my life will be spent in one place and I'll die in that place and there's nothing I could do about it. The inmates have nothing to lose and everything to give and you can tell that the music is really a guiding light for some of these men, probably for some the only thing that is keeping them sane or giving them some semblance of a purpose.
The concept of forgiveness is central to the movie and who is worthy of forgiveness, and it's easy to sit back and say these men should be forgiven. It's hard not to feel that way; they seem gentle, peaceful, and genuinely changed. But it's impossible to make that decision without being one of these men's victims, or a part of their victims' families. It creates a constant tension that truly invests you in the film, and it's impossible to leave the movie without an impression.