Indie film company Breaking Glass Pictures continues its tradition of releasing intriguing art-house and festival fare regarding "Coldwater," which hits theaters and VOD platforms on August 15, 2014. This film, which is well geared for teen boys, about unregulated juvenile reform facilities is most notable for the message that it communicates.
The following clip, courtesy of YouTube of the relatively spoiler-laden trailer for "Coldwater" provides a good sense of the brutal nature of the life of a young offender regardless of his offense.
The orientation largely consists of informing the group that they are there because they messed up their lives and that Reichert and his staff are there to correct the behavior behind their naughtiness. It is also made very clear that obedience is both rewarded and necessary if someone wants to get out.
Brad's parents shipped him off both because of his hostility toward his mother's long-term boyfriend and because his low-level drug dealing has lead to some very serious acts. A series of flashbacks expertly shows the escalation of these events.
Another boy is there because he skipped school, and a third committed what seems to be minor shoplifting.
The horrible hybrid of prison and military elements regarding the operation of the camp include a dangerously grueling exercise program, corporal and psychological punishment that would break the inmates of "Oz," and purposeful creation of dissension in the ranks.
The fact that the staff that works with the boys on a daily basis consists of graduates of this brutality does not help matter. It seems that they inflict the brutality in response to having endured it, rather than (unlike Reichert) out of a belief that it is an effective method for turning these alleged juvenile delinquents into fine upstanding citizens.
Events that contribute drama to this tale include endangering the health of an injured boy, escape attempts, and a panicked Reichert aggressively responding to whistle blowing efforts.
The most dramatic/scary thing about the torment that the boys endure is that it based on experiences at real-life private juvenile reform facilities. As a note at the end of "Coldwater" states, there are a significant number of these camps around the United States. Further, they are not subject to regulation (or apparently much other oversight.)
This movie and similar ones, such as the recent documentary "Kidnapped for Christ," calling attention to what goes on at these facilities will most likely result in some legislative action. Until then, it seems that much of the information will come from this new sub-genre of film.
Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Coldwater" is encouraged to email me. You can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.