Made after the Kent State massacre and the publicising of the My Lai murders, Punishment Park is a fascinating take on Nixon's America at its most conflicted. Unlike Zabriskie Park or the awful Billy Jack, PP is focused on the competing power dynamics rather than free love exploitation, and has survived better in an era when the Handmaid's Tale feels contemporary. Watkins remains Britain's greatest agitator director.
For me as a multiple survivor of excessive police violence & person being affected by repression severly this movie, its analysis and depiction of violence plus the dope, fictional defense speaches of the hero_ines are pure evidence, that other we are not alone in this fight against injustice and that movies can convey sometimes much more than pure talking.
It would have been a better film, if it didn't pick a side, but only demonstrated how the two sides fail to communicate, because the latter it did quite well. Everything seems to be clear since the beginning of the movie: 'Law and order' politics = Nazi Germany. - 'Hippies' = sanity, humanity. It doesn't even bother to investigate the matter. Only black and white and therefore robs itself of any persuasiveness...
i found this film through a band that sampled some of the audio, sometime in the early 00's. as a teenager that didn't have much info about it, i was totally thrown for a loop. couldn't be legit but damned if it wasn't creepily real / conceivable. watching it again 15+ years later, i'm still blown away by the performances in this
A blunt instrument but Watkin's style is electrifying. The film would have been more effective if the balance of intellect were more even between the revolutionaries and the court. Making the left extremely eloquent and the right stupid makes the film imbalanced in a way that robs it of some of its political capital. It's the old adage: put your strongest arguments in the mouth of the enemy.
Although it makes its major points early on - and then progresses to repeat them too often - this remains a vital and intelligent work. Angry but clear-sighted in its not-too implausible take on injustices, Watkins steels his way through with no little bravery in topic and treatment (the cinema veritie works a treat). Sad to say that allegories may change but the underlying status quo does not.
59/100 (Savunulan fikir ve replikler güzel. Tek olumlu yorumum da bu. Onun dışında her şey amatör-yapmacık. Oyunculuklar, kamera kullanımı, sahneler... Sözde doğaçlama filmmiş peh.. Devlet katliam yapacak ve bunu yabancı basın kayıt altına alacak. Buna ancak kıçımla gülerim. Ayrıca ana konuyu oluşturan Ceza Parkı uygulaması da oldukça komik. Ama yine de savunulan görüşe saygımdan bu yüksek puanı veriyorum...)
I love the pacing here. There’s basically just a tent and the desert, yet it’s all so wonderfully done and edited together that it feels like a thriller. The politics of it, especially concerning police violence and the nature of men with power, resonate today in a way that surprises at first but infuriates once it sinks in.