The teenage criminal Eric Love seems street-smart enough to navigate the corruption of the British prison system. But after his violent streak sends him to an adult prison, Eric comes face to face with Nev, a career criminal … and his long-lost father.
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The great plot development and story arc are undone by a lack of emotive parlance. Its heart is diluted with dialogue that's underwritten for proper development and drama, There's a lot of screaming and cursing here, and while that may fit the characters and even be genuine within the prison walls, it grows quite tiresome, creating a disconnect. Otherwise, this would've been masterful, instead of lukewarm.
Another gritty, tense and violent prison film. Jack O’Connell is a tightly-wound powder keg, a damaged teen in an adult prison begging for ultra violence. The film captures perfectly the trauma done by institutionalism and fractured family. Mendelsohn is in form as the unwilling father. Beautifully shot, capturing the tense vibe fleshed out by a solid support cast that proves a damning comment on the system.
Incendiary performances and a skillful, refined direction make for a wholly engrossing experience. The film never goes beyond the walls of the prison, or beyond the here-and-now of the prisoners. This is an explosive portrait of aggression and savagery (not unlike Alan Clarke's Scum), and its main flaw was not spending enough time exploring fatherly guilt or expanding on the racial tensions.
With electrifying performances from young O'Connell and Mendelsohn, "Starred Up" ranks itself high up on my list of best prison movies, along with "A Prophet", "Hunger", "Kiss of the Spider Woman", "Carandiru", "Shawshank", and "Papillon". Intense as hell and masterfully directed by David MacKenzie.
Comin from David Mackenzie,Starred Up is a ruthless,very realistic prison drama that introduce the best from Jack O'Connell. His raw performance is probably the major thing that sustains this movie on a high level.
I liked the pace; some slowness was ok for me because that way things increased in intensity+violence. But under that restlessness clever hides acceptance for an absent father figure.
8.75/10 Mendelsohn +