Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s criminal rehab documentary “Rock and a Hard Place” – Tough love and even tougher questions!

Source: washingtonpost.com

If you wonder what this documentary is all about, well the basic gist is – 38 young convicted felons who must live through four hard months in a boot camp rehabilitation program, or they are back to prison to serve their sentences that range from five years to life. But this all probably sounds more like a reality TV than a documentary that is supposed to teach us something, and if you also think so, you are probably right, and the reason behind this is basically it’s just too hard to tell the difference between the two.

This hour-plus film directed by Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill and executive produced by Dwayne Jonson takes place at the Miami Dade County Corrections and Rehabilitation Boot Camp in Florida. Basically, repeat offenders with crimes going from car jacking to assault with a deadly weapon are given a choice, by the judge, between incarceration or rehabilitation. Since some of them choose the door number two here we are and here comes the “show.” “Rock and a Hard Place” is set to premiere today and it kinda reminds us on the 1970s “Scared Straight!” documentary which used to host terrifying lectures by hard-core convicts about the horrors of prison life in the hope that it could scare the young repeat offenders away from a life of crime.

Source: complex.com

In the “Rock and a Hard Place” strategy is somewhat different and it involves correctional officers who are pretty much drill sergeants and a live-on-campus program in which military-style discipline is everything. The documentary offers some statistics which state that 75% of ex-convicts return to a life of crime, while the rate of boot camp graduates re-offending is a reportedly low 15%, which is actually magnificent. At the beginning Johnson is there to greet the fresh “cadets” who are all younger than 24, have their heads shaven and grim faces while standing still in a row. They all listen to Johnson tell them how he understands where they come from and that he knows how they feel like because once a long time ago he, as well, began a life of crime as a teen. “You don’t feel like it right now, but you’re lucky. You’re lucky you got another shot. Don’t [mess] this thing up.”

Source: youtube.com

After this intro speech its time for 16 weeks in boot camp being scream out of bed each morning, yell to breakfast, shout at through marching drills, berated while they make their beds, and all that by officers. What is more interesting is the fact that cadets also have to yell out the answers “Yes, sir!” “No, sir!”. It is basically a documentary that shows provocation, humiliation with an occasional praise by the CO in order to build up their youth characters. But not everything is that grim. They also have some quiet moments which they use for counseling and classroom instruction as well as the time when cadets attend classes to deal with various issues and to complete their high school education.

After all the pain and suffering, mocking, hard work, humiliation, learning, counseling a fine day comes. It is a day when “The Rock” returns to see these young men stand proud in a line in front of their families and judges who hand them their second chances. It is a moment that will glue you to your seat and make you root for them and at the same time be so proud of them and their success. It is a fine, sweet end for a reality show, don’t you agree?!