THE WORK. Is the story of men. They are taking part in a program. A program that helps by challenging you. These men are taking this program in a room. A chapel inside a prison to be precise. The prison is Folsom. Some are imprisoned here. Some are prisoners outside. All are trapped inside a tangle of emotion and pain. All are here to discover what lay at the route of this. They are here to discover if they open up, will it break out. If they do the work, will they be set free.
To say that this film is transcendent is to miss the point of not only what the program but what the film is setting out to achieve. The films point for me is to separate the human forces of control from the powerful forces of release. To underscore that we are often ignore or are forced to ignore the abstract portions of our existence for the material. The power of THE WORK is that it forces us to enter that spiritual, metaphysical realm.
The powerful thing here is that it does so, in a Mayles brothers, Cinema Veritie stripped down venture. It makes us connect to these beautiful and personal moments without misdirection or excision. We are present inside the spirit of the agents as they change and its redemptive. It allows for questions of masculinity, isolation and emotion to be broached. It also allows for these questions to be answered with insight and empathy. We are left content that men are not only fragile, complex and changed but human as well. This is the films true power. A gift from two very talented film makers and some very honest, powerful, open and human men….
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