The first half of the film is about mob politics, ego, and survival; it's a gritty take on the difference between greed and fighting for your life. Then, the film jarringly shifts into a study of sentiment and emotionality, and the homoerotic subtext is off the charts. Not a smooth transition, but a welcome one. Come for James Fox and Tom Courtenay, stay for the social politics surrounding eating a dog.
Strange how an impressive number of characters played by actors in this film could have been played by actresses. Of course, I don't mean by that that Changi prison was a prison for repressed or unconscious homosexuals but rather that the behaviour of the men surrounding King or Grey results from a feminine psychology. Now, I also love this film for numerous other reasons. Masterpiece.