Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Made for cable TV, Against the Wall represents filmmaker John Frankenheimer's return to the small screen. This in-your-face reenactment of the 1971 Attica prison riots is jam-packed with political and sociological implications. Refreshingly, none of the participants -- the prisoners, the guards, the high-profile mediators, the New York powers-that-be-are rendered in strictly good-guy or bad-guy terms by screenwriter Ron Hutchinson. Anyone old enough to have witnessed the original live TV coverage of the riot, however, will be able to discern who was truly responsible for its tragic outcome. While the 1971 TV-movie Attica was told from a journalist's point of view, Against the Wall is filtered through the eyes of idealist young prison guard Kyle MacLachlan. Director Frankenheimer (who in 1962 helmed the vastly different prison picture Birdman of Alcatraz)stage-manages the proceedings with his usual aplomb, though he uncharacteristically leans towards B-flick melodrama in some scenes.
prison-riot, hostage, injustice, mediator, prison-guard, violence