Locked Up

Ladymol's Review

This is a film of huge contrasts, but despite its many faults, I highly recommend it. The entire movie (bar a couple of short scenes) is shot in a genuine prison, which adds hugely to the authenticity, but also rather gives it a video look and sound. The acting is woeful from most of the extras and from Mike Sale who plays a lead—the black prisoner, Mike. However, Marcel Schlutt (Dennis) more than makes up for this, turning in a totally authentic and very moving performance as the prison newbie trying desperately to survive.

The plot is very simple to describe: Dennis goes to prison for two years for credit card fraud. He’s put on the neo-Nazi wing with vicious rightwing extremists, and has to go along with the “boss” to survive. He spies Mike on a work detail and visits him in the banned “C” lines. Despite the almost overwhelming odds against them, they fall in love. I won’t spoil the plot for you by saying any more.

Typical with European films, this movie is amazingly graphic. It’s more graphic than most soft-core porn where the action is all simulated and you see nothing but limp dicks. The dicks are often hard in this one and the sex quite convincing (according to the interviews on the extra features, it was real!). There are quite a few masturbatory scenes that would never get past an American or British censor. In addition to all this there are some very disturbing scenes of brutality and rape that are shockingly realistic.

But all that aside, what I really liked about this movie was the utterly convincing love story between Dennis and Mike. It’s not hearts and flowers—how could it be in this dreadful place? It’s Dennis's desperate need for Mike's strength and protection. It’s Mike's loneliness and desire to be a good man again with someone rather than the brutal man he’s had to become to survive as a black man in a German prison. Their scenes together are so tense you can actually feel their furious hugs, taste their kisses. It’s all rather wonderful, despite all the faults I mentioned earlier. In fact, this film is so woefully badly acted that I’m actually laughing at myself for finding this so satisfactory. I guess it just strikes a chord that despite the worst of circumstances, love will find a way.

I hope you do give this one a go.

Cerisaye's Review

Beginning with a strip search that doesn't back away from graphic depiction, this movie set in a German prison doesn't pull punches.  But it isn’t what you’d expect.  And it’s surprisingly uplifting.  Two men with something between them that's more than sex.  A beautiful , steamy romance, definitely for adults.

Middle class lad Dennis is the new boy on the block, thrust into a hostile environment where the threat of violence is constant.  He must deal with C-section hard men led by Lutz, shaven-headed macho bully.  The oily prison governor tries to enlist Dennis as a grass but he’s not daft.  He knows he needs protection from someone with real power.  The guards are in collusion with the block daddy, supplying drugs and indulging kinks for voyeurism and sex. 

Dennis watches Mike, a black inmate digging a hole outside his window.  Mike is a hard man like Lutz, doing serious time for murder.  Initial attraction quickly becomes very intense, physical and emotional.  Dennis runs away after a hard male kiss, confused by his desire.  Perhaps he looks at the block punk, the effeminate junkie, Letarski, used by Lutz and his hangers-on, thinking that’s not me.  But something has been awakened in him that won’t be denied.  They’re restricted to short weekly recreational visits, as Mike teaches Dennis about man-on-man sex, and together they explore what is undoubtedly love.  Whether they’re straight or gay doesn’t matter.  Their scenes are erotically charged and exceedingly hot. 

Dennis wants to move in with Mike.  Instead he gets flung into a punishment cell.   In one memorable image they're both in solitary and reach out to touch between the bars of the cell windows.  There are many homoerotic moments like that, contrasting with the porn.  Will the governor allow Dennis and Mike to move in together?  It’s rather a peculiar prison, with guards out of Jeff Stryker’s Power Tool (review coming soon).

Acting isn't the best, with Dennis the notable exception, but there's a spark between the lead actors, which gives sex scenes an edge.  Dennis is so convincing he makes up for Mike’s inadequacy- his sexual power is another thing.  Don't miss the extras, with deleted scenes and  cast interviews where the actors are very candid.  Marcel Schlutt as Dennis is a hottie (a young James Marsters), and nothing like his character.   Both men are gay, so don’t hold back on moments of intimacy.  Some surprising revelations and a lot of humour.

In regular porno there's no emotional engagement or love, and minimal plot to link sequences that are jerk-off material.  This blurs the boundaries, like Raspberry Reich.  That reflects a mature European attitude totally absent from Hollywood movies where actors just wouldn't do graphic sex, particularly gay, and if they did they could say good-bye to mainstream success.  Recent films, like Nine Songs, grab headlines because they contain real sex.  But the general verdict is dull and not at all erotic.  Not so this movie!  The actors have on camera sex and it is hot stuff.  However, even here, despite earlier showing a graphically disturbing gang rape, the director puts a significant scene into the extras.

LadyM and I have been looking for our perfect gay movie.  This one has the graphic sex I want together with a nicely developed, believable romance, with good conflict/resolution. We’ve seen more polished films, but this movie pushes the right buttons- okay, I have a prison kink.   I want the dramatic quality of Burnt Money with sex like this film has.  Check it out, and you won’t be disappointed. 


Buy Locked Up (REGION 1) (NTSC) from Amazon