It isn’t a prison sentence; it’s guerrilla warfare. That’s Mark DeFriest’s philosophy concerning incarceration. Initially sentenced to four years over a misunderstanding, he’s now spent three decades behind bars, amassing a laundry list of disciplinary reports and earning a reputation as the “Houdini of high security prisons.”
“There’s an art to everything,” asserts DeFriest, who has demonstrated considerable creativity with his 18 escape attempts, whether dosing prison medical staff with LSD or coming out with handmade zip guns blazing. (In the Wild West, he would’ve assuredly gone out like Butch and Sundance, rather than withering away in a cell.) With fantastical animated sequences conveying DeFriest’s past exploits and delving into his troubled psyche, Gabriel London’s documentary questions how redemption can possibly be achieved when an unforgiving system simply won’t allow for such things.