The Dhamma Brothers
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East meets West in the Deep South. An overcrowded maximum-security prison--the end of the line in Alabama's correctional system--is dramatically changed by the influence of an ancient meditation program. Behind high security towers and a double row of barbed wire and electrical fence dwells a host of convicts who will never see the light of day. But for some of these men, a spark is ignited when it becomes the first maximum-security prison in North America to hold an extended Vipassana retreat, an emotionally and physically demanding course of silent meditation lasting ten days. "The… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 83%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"An example of advocacy filmmaking at its most inspired."
‑ Andrea Gronvall, Chicago Reader
"A sort of cross between The Shawshank Redemption and an episode of MSNBC's Lockup, the intriguing documentary The Dhamma Brothers makes a cogent case for prisoner rehabilitation over, as one inmate here bluntly puts it, being 'warehoused till you die'."
‑ Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times
"The thoughtfulness and humanity of these inmates is a potent reminder that there's almost no such thing as a lost cause."
‑ Marc Mohan, Oregonian
"Beyond the visual novelty of murderers and rapist sitting in silent practice, The Dhamma Brothers seems to be interested in surprisingly little."
‑ Jurgen Fauth,
"It's a truly inspirational piece of documentary filmmaking bolstered by a fine soundtrack featuring the music of Low, New Order and Sigur Ros."
‑ Ken Fox, TV Guide's Movie Guide
"A sincere but unevenly made documentary about Buddhism on death row."
‑ Ty Burr, Boston Globe
"There's one image you're likely to take away from this mind-boggling documentary. It's of rows and rows of men dressed completely in white and seated cross-legged on royal blue mats."
‑ Ruthe Stein, San Francisco Chronicle
"Though compelling as far as it goes, a little more skepticism and drama would have made for a more engaging film and enhanced its message."
‑ Bob Strauss, Los Angeles Daily News
"If nothing else, it might change stereotypical perceptions about convicts and prison life."
‑ Eric Monder, Film Journal International
"Not polished enough to spread, or strike a nerve, within the wider moviegoing community."
‑ Mark Keizer, Boxoffice Magazine
"Most of these men will never know freedom beyond prison walls, but they have learned liberation from within."
‑ Tom Keogh, Seattle Times
"The Dhamma Brothers offers a constructive alternative to the hopelessness of human warehousing."
‑ Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times
"The film does a poor job of explaining the discipline or how it works, and naively takes the convicts' testimonials at face value."
‑ Bill White, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"(W)hat many will remember about this otherwise informative film is the way in which we get to know these men."
‑ Bill Gibron, PopMatters
"A remarkable documentary about inmates at an Alabama prison who do a 10-day silent meditation retreat which opens them to the experience of inner peace and compassion."
‑ Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice
More reviews for The Dhamma Brothers on Rotten Tomatoes