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Directed by: Reg Traviss
Script by: Ronnie Thompson, Colin Butts
Status: Premiere May 30, 2011 (London)
Genre: Prison Drama
Runtime: 110 min
Production Studio: Screwed Film
Co-Stars: Noel Clarke, Frank Harper, Kate Magowan, Jamie Foreman
Role: Sam Norwood
A young war veteran who becomes a prison officer as he attempts to exorcise his demons after returning from a harrowing tour in Iraq. When he returns home, he becomes exposed to the underworld of prison culture - including corrupt guards and drug trafficking.
Based on Ronnie Thompson's semi-autobiographical book Screwed: The Truth About Life As A Prison Officer. The film is a brutal story that reveals what really goes on in one of the toughest prisons in England. SCREWED exposes the underworld of corrupt prison officers, the drugs they traffic, the criminal gangs for whom they work and what they get paid for their sins. Ultimately the film will show us that being a good screw doesn’t always mean sticking to the rules.
Trivia & Facts:
- Budget $3 000 000
- Reg Traviss wanted the grittiness that could only come from filming in a real jail: most of the filming was done in Scarborough's old Victorian jail, Dean Road Prison.
- A derelict office block on Southend seafront has been transformed into an Iraqi market scene.
Film Location: Scarborough, North Yorkshire; Southend, Essex (UK)
Reg Traviss (on casting Sam): There were the usual suspects whose names kept cropping up, but we thought that if we’re not careful with the lead actor, Screwed could appear to be just a gritty, testosterone-filled low-budget sort of film. So, we wanted to cast someone against type, and we felt that an actor of classically trained ilk might see something in our material that we hadn’t seen. We felt that someone like James D’Arcy may identify the layers in the material, and meet us halfway
James D'Arcy: There were two guys smoking crack in one of the cells- they were fantastic. They were in the cell all glassy eyed and they were so good at that.
- We had to cut someone down who had committed suicide. That was really moving and it stayed with more than I thought it might. We’ve had a lot of fights including a full-on prison riot. That was a big day and all the guys who came in as background artists were really fantastic.
- It was a very male-heavy cast and there were a lot of very lovely girls on the shoot in the crew which just helped, because you'd finish filming and then you'd have a bit of a flirt. Everyone did and then you just felt better about life all round.
- Sam in Screwed was certainly a stretch vocally.
- I’m not the obvious candidate for that kind of role, I just thought, ‘How refreshing.’ It’s quite good to go towards things that you’re afraid of, and I was a bit afraid of it. I wasn’t sure if I could do it. I thought this would be genuinely frightening, and it was. There is a school of acting that says, ‘Find what you can do really well and stick to it,’ but that doesn’t really float my boat.”
James D’Arcy is an incredibly good actor and he’s handled all of the elements very sensitively. There’s certain parts of it I’ve found quite distressing to watch and he was very sensitive to me and yes, it’s been really good and really interesting --- Ronnie Thompson
It is D’Arcy’s brave and strong performance that helps give the film a real sense of class, along with the fact that it is snappily edited and never really relies on ‘prison movie’ clichés, instead focussing on character and sense of location. D’Arcy has the key role of King Edward VIII in Madonna’s upcoming W.E., and been a regular in UK television dramas, but this role proves his range as an actor --- Mark Adams, Screen Daily
James D’Arcy’s performance as Sam Norwood is fantastic; he looks physically ill when it all seems to be getting too much for him yet he does not milk the tears or desperation at any stage, acting as you would expect a man in that situation to react --- Deirdre Savage bestforfilm.com
D’Arcy, on the other hand, steals the show in every scene, suitably conveying Sam’s fierce nature and difficulty adjusting to life away from Iraq --- Jamie Neish HeyUGuys.Co.UK
Traviss’s to-the-point-direction tells the story effectively without attempting redundant auteuristic tricks, well aided and abetted by D’Arcy’s powerful central performance and strong contributions from Clarke, Harper and (almost inevitably for a British crime film) Foreman, with Bryan Loftus’ gritty, often-verging-on-monochrome cinematography adding atmosphere. --- Alan Frank picturesthattalk.com
D’arcy and Harper excel… D’Arcy is convincingly feral, and the fearsome Frank Harper supplies plenty of callous crackle as a coke-snorting daddy screw --- Simon Crook Empireonline
D'Arcy makes Sam's mental breakdown all too believable, Frank Harper lightens sleazebag screw Deano with a human touch, and Noel Clarke gives his brooding face a good airing as scheming inmate Truman --- Robbie Collins NewsoftheWorld
D'Arcy is impressive as Norwood - his slide into virtual breakdown is entirely believable --- Neil White everyfilmin.com
Screwed is an ugly and at times clichéd look inside a place you would rather not be. However, the performances are convincing, particularly from D’Arcy, and the director handles the subject with skill --- Brigit Grant express.co.uk
Screwed is a surprise... a scrappy little crime drama anchored by an above-the-grade performance from James D’Arcy. Hardly suggesting a burly man or even one undone by confrontation, D’Arcy nevertheless gives dimension to an initially bare-bones portrait of a vet whose scars follow him into a line of work that can’t help but exacerbate old wounds. He is able to radiate first inexperience, than despair and finally righteous anger from within a thin, non-threatening frame and isn’t afraid of giving in during the more emotional scenes --- thecriticalcritics.com