Critic scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.
A compelling, highly charged film that brings a contemporary perspective to classic prison picture elements. Read full review
Film explores the abuses rampant in woman's prisons and the powerlessness of the inmates, while telling the uplifting story of one inmate, Frances (LisaRae). Read full review
Although the film loses its way in the late going with a preponderance of melodramatic elements that dilute the more compelling social message, for much of its running time it packs a visceral punch, thanks in large part to a strong cast headed by LisaRaye, N'Bushe Wright and Mos Def. Read full review
There's way too much of the usual bonding, beatings, petty humiliation by guards, cat fights in the yard and trips to the hole. Read full review
There are also strong flickers here of a film that might have been. Read full review
There's no question that Civil Brand has an ambitious premise, but it feels boxed in by the standard prison-movie formula. Read full review
Exploitation shamelessly posing as empowerment, Neema Barnette's self-congratulatory drama about women in prison promises to reveal shocking truths. Read full review
Civil Brand's aesthetic is pure mid-'70s blaxploitation, and not in an ironic or reverent sense. Even the heavy-handed political rhetoric is in keeping with the neo-blaxploitation vibe, since even bad blaxploitation movies often had revolutionary undercurrents. Read full review
The cast includes rappers Da Brat, Mos Def and MC Lyte. Their fans might get some pleasure from Civil Brand. Everybody else best stay away.
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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.
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