Civil Brand
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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… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 16%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"It's impossible to ignore the strain of misogyny that taints the movie."
‑ Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News
"Artistically, its heavy-handed clumsiness undercuts its goals."
‑ Tom Long, Detroit News
"Wildly uneven, rife with a virtual checklist of human tragedies that build to easy emotional crescendos but fail to engage the audience well enough to evoke any meaning."
‑ Todd Gilchrist,
"If Civil Brand hopes to raise awareness or instigate reform, what it really needs is a greater focus on character over convention."
‑ Peter Debruge, Premiere Magazine
"The movie is every bit as exploitative as the old Roger Corman babes-behind- bars flicks without having nearly as much campy fun."
‑ Glenn Whipp, Los Angeles Daily News
"It's guilty of gross B-movie meltdown, but mitigating circumstances include honest anger and a scattering of vivid scenes."
‑ Bob Campbell, Newark Star-Ledger
"It presents a heated-up, awkward blend of earnest outrage and down-and-dirty exploitation."
‑ A.O. Scott, New York Times
"This is a film about the abuses of privatization and presents a negative view of what might happen if corporate America gets control of the business of corrections."
‑ Jonathan W. Hickman, Entertainment Insiders
"Hollywood still doesn?t seem to understand that just because someone can sing doesn't mean they can act. If this film doesn't prove that point, nothing will."
‑ Blake French,
"After two smart acts, the film almost becomes the exploitation flick it so desperately wants to avoid."
‑ James Hill,
"Barnette, a veteran TV director, means this as an exposť of prison abuse and exploitation, but the film is too simplistic and derivative to succeed."
‑ V.A. Musetto, New York Post
"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."
‑ Robert K. Elder, Chicago Tribune
"There's way too much of the usual bonding, beatings, petty humiliation by guards, cat fights in the yard and trips to the hole."
‑ Maitland McDonagh, TV Guide's Movie Guide
"Women behind bars! While that's the perfect set-up for a late-night, soft-core cable movie, this flick is guilty of being nothing more than a jailhouse crock."
‑ , E! Online
"Muckraking mess of a movie."
‑ Susan Green, Boxoffice Magazine
More reviews for Civil Brand on Rotten Tomatoes