A Sense of Freedom

This film tells you the story of Glasgow hard man and career criminal Jimmy Boyle as played by David Hayman.  Boyle is one man not to be messed with and seems to be untouchable by the police which frustrates veteran copper Davidson (Fulton Mackay) no end.  Eventually Boyle slips up and is found guilty of murder and is sentenced to life.  Immediately after starting his sentence he starts making the prison authorities lives difficult.  He punches the Governor, assaults various screws and does a ‘dirty protest’ in a scene which is as powerful as it is gross.  He is constantly put in solitary confinement and when he comes out, kicks off again.

A Sense of Freedom is based on Boyle’s own book of the account of his life and is a riveting and incredibly well acted drama.  David Hayman is totally convincing as Boyle and the assured direction by The Long Good Friday’s John Mackenzie is spot on.  I can remember my Mum and Dad talking about this film when it was show on the telly in the early eighties no doubt in it’s dubbed and re-edited version (which is included on a second DVD).  The original version is seriously hardcore and violent with lots of bad language, so it’s not a family friendly film.

It is however, a very good example of a gritty British prison drama which we had plenty of at the time (Scum, Scrubbers and McVicar) and is heartily recommended to those who like good acting, a good story and plenty of prison officers getting a slap.

  • Starring David Hayman  Fulton Mackay  Jake D’Arcy  Sean Scanlon
  • Director John Mackenzie
  • Distributor Odyessy