Oz

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HBO (ended 2003)

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Ho_Man

User Score: 249

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Oz Fan Reviews (65)

8.8
out of 10
Average
2,071 votes
  • An Unrelentingly Bleak Meditation on the Violence and Dysphoria Permeating the American Prison System

    9.0
    Welcome to Oz (The Oswald State Correctional Facility), a terrifyingly corrupt Prison set in upstate New York where the burdens of the state are pooled together with the very worst being brought to "Em City" a cell block oriented around rehabilitation and education led by the originally naive Tim McManus. "Em City" brings many members of diverse groups (Neo-Nazis, Muslims, Gangbangers, Junkies and Psychopaths) into a melting pot where there are no secrets. There are no solid walls, with all of the cells being glass prisms forcing the guards to watch in helpless horror (and even take part in the cruelty themselves) as prisoners Rape, Kill and sell/use massive amounts of Drugs all in the pursuit of power and any equivalent of freedom they can get their hands on. Over the course of Six Seasons each consisting of Eight hour-long episodes we learn more than we could ever want to know about the crimes, passions, relationships and vices of the inmates and guards. The Acting across the board is stellar- striding a fine line between Bold Art (the show is narrated from the rotating prismatic perspective of a wheelchair bound prisoner floating above the chaos of Oz like Glenda the Good Witch in her bubble) and eerie naturalism. Beyond this however most viewers will probably be put off by the EXTREMELY BRUTAL violence and full frontal male nudity (often within the context of Rape). Oz is a grueling experience but ultimately finds redemption in its humanization and not glorification of Prison Life. This is not The Shawshank Redemption. Instead we get an intimate look at the horrors of the Prison System and the corruption that sews the seeds of discontent often ending in the deaths of human beings. For those who can stomach the default nastiness and cynicism Oz will prove to be a rewarding and highly engaging exercise in sustained tension.



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