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K-11 (Film) Review

 
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At A Glance...
 

Genre:
 
Director:
 
Age Rating:
 
Actor: , , , , ,
 
Length: 88 minutes
 
Release Date: April 23, 2013
 
Final Score
 
 
 
 
 
2.5/ 5


User Rating
2 total ratings

 

We liked?


A powerful premise that doesn't shy away from difficult topics.

Not so much?


Poorly developed plot and less than stellar acting.


Final Fiendish Findings?

K-11 could have been a really hard hitting look at transgendered inmates in a prison setting, the ultimate rock bottom of drug abuse – heck, even at police corruption and abuse of inmates. Instead, it falls short of the mark by taking the easy way out on difficult issues. A poorly developed plot leads to disbelief in the plot, the characters, and the film in general.

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Posted April 10, 2013 by

 
Full Fiendish Findings?
 
 

Jules Stewart makes her directorial debut in an unusual prison drama.15RDP_KELEVEN_SPAN-articleLarge-v2

It’s an interesting premise, a daring look at a controversial subject. Goran Visnjic (yup, the guy from E.R.) stars as addict Raymond Saxx who, after blacking out during a weekend binge, wakes to find himself in jail with no recollection as to how or why he is there. Even more confusing, the heterosexual Raymond has somehow been assigned to a special unit designated for homosexual and transgendered inmates. He needs to figure out why he’s in prison, how to get out, and how to stay alive long enough to do both. But first, he needs to sober up.

Story wise, there is so much in K-11 that I wanted to like. Police corruption, a newcomer navigating the prison hierarchy, drug abuse, unexpected friends in the most unexpected places, and a raw look at the challenges facing gay and transgendered people in a prison setting. These are some really difficult themes which, presented properly, have the ability to really open minds to the overwhelming challenges many people face, and the possibility of finding redemption in the unlikeliest places. Presented properly, this could be a very powerful story.

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And therein lies my problem with K-11. I really liked the potential of the story, but I really didn’t like the direction it took. For one thing, you have some really great actors in this film, people like Visnjic, and D.B. Sweeney, and Tiny Lister who have proven themselves to be capable of great performances. But I just didn’t see it here. For the most part, it felt like just acting – you just don’t get the sense they really are the people they are playing. Instead, they they come off as just playing a part that they don’t particularly like, and it results in none of the immersion in the story that you feel in a really great film.

The exception to this, for me, was Portia Doubleday. Doubleday plays Butterfly, a fragile transvestite who, after being imprisoned for killing an abusive father, is brutally raped by yet another toxic father figure. She comes across as very delicate, very damaged, and very dangerous – yet somehow endearing at the same time. Unfortunately, her excellent performance is soured by the fact that she really should have been a man.

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In a decision I’m not sure I understand, the transvestites in the film are all women playing men who identify as women. They dress as women (complete with makeup and lingerie), and act like women (suggestive lollipop sucking, fashion shows, and all), and many have a decidedly female physique (presumably post surgical alteration). I don’t know what the reason behind the decision to have women play these characters, but it felt very much like a copout.

K-11 could have been a really hard hitting look at transgendered inmates in a prison setting, the ultimate rock bottom of drug abuse – heck, even at police corruption and abuse of inmates. Instead, it falls short of the mark by taking the easy way out on difficult issues. A poorly developed plot leads to disbelief in the plot, the characters, and the film in general.


Amy

 
U.S. Senior Editor & Deputy EIC, mother of 5, gamer, reader, wife to @macanthony, and all-around bad-ass (no, not really)