Through the Wire

Nina Rosenblum’s chilling documentary about an isolation unit in a women’s penitentiary in Lexington, Ky., is a persuasive piece of filmmaking. Narrated by Susan Sarandon, it tells of three women convicted of politically motivated crimes who in 1986 were brought to the underground, constantly lit ”prison within a prison”; they were kept in near-isolation, watched by cameras round the clock (even in the shower), and routinely strip-searched. While Through the Wire attempts to humanize these political zealots, it mainly tries to convince us that excessive punishment for political beliefs is un-American. A federal court agreed, closing the unit in 1988, but that ruling was overturned on appeal, and a similar unit has opened in Florida. File this film under: It can happen here. B

Through the Wire
  • Movie