OK, if you can sympathize with an idiot who would strap several kilos of hash to his body to smuggle them from a country where penalties for such crimes are often met with DEATH, then you can go with this slick, atmospheric and incredibly violent movie. Admittedly, it gets under your skin, and Brad Davis was mightily effective in the role of Billy Hayes, and John Hurt embodies creepily the stoned out prison mate Billy befriends during his harrowing odyssey. But this movie, directed with typical stylish flair by visual master Alan Parker, never places the blame squarely on Billy's shoulders, poor dumb guy. And while his torturous stay in the Turkish prisons practically smells, it is so dense and well-captured, it did nothing for the image of Turkey, the country -- it is uncompromising and brutally vicious in its depiction of virtually every Turkish location, character and idea, for that matter. If Turkey was such a pit of despair, why did Billy decide to buy his hash there? This movie revolves around a character who is unrepentant and foolish, and while no one should have to endure such human indignation, it is hard to escape that simple fact. Parker's movie, taken on its own terms, has an almost poetic quality at times, though Billy's dismissal of the Swede's advances actually made me laugh out loud, and, by the way, was consummated in the book. With so much depravity at every turn, and hellish imprisonment your destiny, why wouldn't Billy seek another human, even if he happens to be a man?