12/23/2011 07:49 am ET | Updated Feb 22, 2012

Can A Tour Of Prisons Be Called A 'Travel Film?' (VIDEO)

In a well-produced, documentary short film, writer and academic Pete Brook takes an odd trip around the United States: He travels what he calls a "hidden" network of American prisons, speaking with inmates and narrating his thoughts along the way.

Far from what we've come to expect from typical travel videography -- there's no time-lapse or tilt-shift here -- the seven-minute film can still be thought of as travel journalism, with an admittedly large twist.

Put another way, the clip has much in common with the best travel writing: Stark landscapes, intriguing characters, local slang and unexplored places.

And it has one other feature that's almost always present in the most riveting narratives: a mystery, the question of what happens next, that persists even after the story ends.