Short Eyes

Director: Robert M. Young
Year Released: 1977
Rating: 2.0

Slick film of the Miguel Piñero play about a child molester (Bruce Davison) and the treatment he receives as a result of committing, in the eyes of the prisoners, the 'worst' crime. The problem comes with the plot structuring: if Piñero wants it to be a slice of life tale of prison life and interaction, he shouldn't have devoted so much time to the Davison narrative; likewise, if it's about Davison's illness, then there should have been more of an effort to flesh him and his problems out further, instead of allotting him the equivalent of one big speech (powerfully delivered). There are some troubling undertones that equate pedophilia with the prisoners' faux-homosexuality, and the film seems a little too interested in the prisoners' sexual instead of emotional or intellectual lives. The musical aside involving Curtis Mayfield - and let me tell you, I'm a big Mayfield fan - doesn't mesh with the rest of the picture.