Punishment Park

Punishment Park (1972)

  • Director: Peter Watkins
  • Release date:
  • Genre: Drama, Thriller
  • Country: USA
Suspense
Jump Scares
Gore

Plot

"Punishment Park" is a pseudo-documentary purporting to be a film crews's news coverage of the team of soldiers escorting a group of hippies, draft dodgers, and anti-establishment types across the desert in a type of capture the flag game. The soldiers vow not to interfere with the rebels' progress and merely shepherd them along to their destination. At that point, having obtained their goal, they will be released.

The film crew's coverage is meant to insure that the military's intentions are honorable. As the representatives of the 60's counter-culture get nearer to passing this arbitrary test, the soldiers become increasingly hostile, attempting to force the hippies out of their pacifist behavior.

A lot of this film appears improvised and in several scenes real tempers seem to flare as some of the "acting" got overaggressive. This is a interesting exercise in situational ethics.

The cinéma vérité style, hand-held camera, and ambiguous demands of the director - would the actors be able to maintain their roles given the hazing they were taking - pushed some to the brink. The cast's emotions are clearly on the surface.

Unfortunately this film has gone completely underground and is next to impossible to find. It would offer a captivating document of the distrust that existed between soldiers willfully serving in the military and those persons who opposed the war peacefully.

Top Cast

Carmen Argenziano
Carmen Argenziano
Scott Turner
Scott Turner
  • As: James Arthur Kohler, Tribunal Defendant
Patrick Boland
Patrick Boland
  • As: First Tribunal Defendant

Kent Foreman
Kent Foreman
  • As: Defendant in the tribunal
Luke Johnson
Luke Johnson
  • As: Defendant in the tribunal
Katherine Quittner
Katherine Quittner
  • As: Nancy Smith