Punishment Park Reviews
Even while fictional, Punishment Park is as real as it gets with its unprecedented political commentary which brings towards many disturbing as well as thoughtful moments regarding justice and violence all under a format that adds to its political stances and to the harsh feelings it wants to convey.
The pseudo documentary switches between the harrowing experiences of those who are forced to run through the Mojave in the scorching midday sun and whether the freezing heat of the night and those who are standing trial to allegations of dissent against the establishment of the govt.
The characters are portrayed realistically and with appropriate attire - with those advocating dissent shown to be dressed up in casuals and no concern about how they're dressed and those who are sitting on the bench in proper formal and dignified attire.
Through these polemical discourses, the director seeks to provoke a dialogue or start a debate among the national leaders or all those who want to have a say about the issues that plague America and which has caused so much unrest and friction.
This documentary is certainly one-sided but also it is trying portray the chaotic times that America had witnessed earlier in the sixties in a pictorial and allegorical form, where trust between the authorities and the citizens were at their lowest. Thus is it renders a necessary viewing to those who seek to learn about the ideas that were in the political climate. And also the totalitarian nature of those who run the power.
What is striking is the thin line of difference between past times and today: the conservative, narrow-minded social/political/economical quotes that the authorities use in order to justify their "merits" and actions forcefully imposed over any geographical area with an 'x' amount of population, AND the idealized version of the rebellious ambitions that have influenced the stream of thinking and action of modern youth, who nowadays come to be our parents. If God allows it, we may have children too, yet self-justice and selfish proclamations over the rights of an individual have always caused the same outcome everywhere: violence (raised to any level you want: manifestations, riots, guerrillas, wars, genocides).
The more decades pass, the more blind souls should realize that there is only one solution to the problem of international social injustice: Christ in the hearts of humanity. Trust in man's limited judgment, and you're officially f****d.
Though it feels like a half an hour film stretched out to 80 minutes and it's very much a movie made for the late 1960's and doesnt have much ressonence today.
It does have a great last 30 minutes or so which is done brilliantly