Catch up TV reviews: Life Inside Jail, The Women Who Kill Lions, Sacrifice
Ivan Radford | On 03, Jul 2016
Life Inside Jail: Hell on Earth (ITV Hub)
Sean Bean narrates this documentary about Albany, one of New York’s toughest jails. Shot over several months, the programme arrives a matter of weeks after Orange Is the New Black’s fourth season on Netflix. While you might expect something more stereotyped than the streaming series – not just because of Bean’s gruff voice-over talking of convicts and how they sometimes leave then come back a few days later – what emerges is an engaging, often rounded portrait of a strikingly diverse group of inmates. Compared to the recent Oscar Pistorius interview and “Killer Women with Piers Morgan”, this is an excellent, balanced piece of television that doesn’t sensationalise to grab our attention – the human lives on display are more than enough to do that.
The Women Who Kill Lions (All 4)
If you don’t know female hunter Rebecca Francis by name, you’ve certainly seen her: a photo of her and a dead giraffe went viral last year, when Ricky Gervais tweeted it. Now, Channel 4 (in a wily piece of programming) takes us behind the scenes to see what their lives are like. Why do they carry out such a controversial sport? Together with Croat Jacine Jadresko, the documentary catches them both in action and away from their game. The frankly barbaric practice will be sickening to watch for those who oppose animal cruelty, but their attitudes towards it are just as dubious: one moment sees them hide a bloody wound on a kill while posing for a photo, while another sees them confess their motivation for continuing: “Buck Fever”, the rush of adrenaline that leaves the hunter shaking after what they’ve done. Rebecca calls it “overwhelming”, “wonderful” and a “celebration”. Even for those who strongly disagree, though, this documentary also serves as an important reminder that there are people behind the headlines, as we see them react to the threats they receive online.
Photo: Renowned Films Ltd
Rupert Graves may be pleased to see his latest film, Sacrifice, get a straight-to-TV premiere this week on Channel 5, meaning that it’s free for every to watch on-demand. That pleasure, though, will be short-lived: he plays the husband of a New York surgeon (Radha Mitchell) who relocates with him to the Shetland Isles, where their decision to adopt a child unearths some spooky goings-on. Writer/director Peter A. Dowling tries his best to channel The Wicker Man with his rural location and sinister community, but laughable dialogue, bad accents, excited displays of ancient runes and a boringly predictable twist soon sap any tension or interest. Straight to VOD releases have managed to shake off any stigma in recent years. Channel 5, though, still has a long way to go. Not even Rupert Graves fans will enjoy this one.