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:: Greenfingers

Greenfingers is a pleasant British comedy that tells the true story of a group of murderers housed in an alternative minimum-security prison, HMP Edgefield. Colin Briggs (Clive Owen) is sent to Edgefield, after already serving 15 years for the murder of his brother, is a prison where its criminals are encouraged to be rehabilitated and make something of themselves. Herein lies the challenge for Briggs, who believes that he doesn’t deserve a second chance and doesn’t want it. Briggs befriends a dying old “lifer” (in prison for life) Fergus (David Kelly) who after several close calls with death convinces Briggs to plant his violets on the prison grounds. After witnessing them flourish over spring the prison’s governor orders the two along with several of the other inmates to plant the prisons first garden. Throwing himself into the challenge, Briggs enlists the help of famed British gardener Georgina Woodhouse (Helen Mirren) who is greatly impressed with their results.

Urging the group to enter the Queens Hampton Court Palace Flower Show their opportunity is shattered when one of the inmates is framed for a robbery and escapes the compound. Meanwhile Briggs is released from Edgefield and forms a close relationship with her Georgina’s daughter, Primrose. Still in conflict over his brother’s murder, Briggs sends himself back to Edgefield where he believes he can make a difference and pay his penance. After the sudden death of Fergus the remaining group pull themselves together and make it to the Queens Flower Show.

Written and directed by Joel Hershman, Greenfingers subtly explores the theme of rebirth and hope. The inmates, having committed a serious crime, namely murder, have a second chance at redemption and find it through the creation of life and birth through their gardens. A beautiful crafted tale that sees Clive Owens’ performance dominate his scenes, especially as we witness his struggle and own convictions about his brother’s murder. The love subplot is somewhat clichéd however there is enough gentle humour and story to hold itself above the predictability of Briggs’ and Primrose’s relationship. A bizarre true story, that makes it all the more worthwhile.