Of course, CARPINTEROS is the only
Dominican Prison Action-Romance movie of all time. It's still really good. It blasts through the cheapness and poverty of its means with performances and a story to remember. The handheld cameras and actual prison locations work in the film's favor as we follow an new inmate into the prison. Played by Jean Jean, the man takes in the lay of the land and finds himself communicating via sign language with the inmates of an adjoining women's prison. The tough, murderous leader of the cell block has Jean Jean send some messages to his girlfriend, and, most inconveniently, the pair fall in love.
This sets off a chain of events that ends in violence and revenge. Throughout, the filmmaking and acting is excellent and the film already feels like a modern action classic.
Filmed in a real prison in the Dominican Republic, using real inmates as extras, the film has an authenticity that can’t be bought. Handheld camerawork and crowd scenes imbued with authentic tension and anger suggest that this could be a particularly exciting documentary, rather than a narrative film. The film captures the claustrophobic, chaotic feel of the notorious Najayo Prison, providing a perfect backdrop for the violent battle that ensues.
is a little adult-contemporary for my taste, but it gives you a sense of what you'll be looking at.