Solid prison drama about anger, forgiveness, father figures, and more. (by fathersonholygore)
Jack O'Connell and Ben Mendelsohn absolutely shine here in David Mackenzie's Starred Up, as an estranged son and father who end up in the same prison after the former is starred up an early transfer of a criminal from a young offender's institution to full-fledged adult prison .The acting is absolutely the finest point here. O'Connell, who I've seen and enjoyed before, is a fiery young man named Eric Love, with a lot of rage simmering inside him; I saw somewhere else where they likened his performance to a young Malcolm McDowell, and I can definitely see some of him here. <more>
However, O'Connell stands on his own- one of the fiercest depictions of a young criminal I've seen in ages! Mendelsohn, someone I'm a huge fan of, plays the role of absentee, criminal dad Neville Love. There are so many great things about his performance, but I think it's a combination of him and O'Connell together- a lot of dynamics going on. The son is learning to cope with actually having his father around, for what seems like the first time in his life, dealing with prison in general, and also coming to understand that his father has become gay or whatever the criminals in prison classify themselves as while in prison after so many years, engaging in some sort of sexual relationship with another inmate. There is a lot going on, and I think the script is absolutely amazing.There are a few prison cliché moments here, but overall it's a well put together British prison drama, up there with some of the best of them. I hope O'Connell does more stuff like this, so he can show off his acting chops, and of course I hope Mendelsohn continues to turn in performances like he has been doing, solid now, for the past four or five years, or more. I give this a 10 out of 10, because I think it was a touching, rough look at prison, and it's unique among all the prison films out there, as it has a bit of heart within it. Amazing piece of work. I highly recommend anybody seeing this, especially fans of prison films, or any of the actors in it. Great film!
Powerful movie that leaves you wanting more! (by natalie-mcgaughey)
This movie is AMAZING!!!!!! I want to say so much about it, but after watching it, I am just so stunned and in awe of it, that the only thing I can think of to write is that this movie is FREAKING AMAZING!!! The actor were amazing, the story was amazing, the lead guy was ah-mazing, IT WAS ALL AMAZING!!!! 5 stars for sure! Never once did I get bored or hope that the movie would speed up or slow down, it just kept me engaged the whole way through. And the casting was just superb! The faces of each character just fit so perfectly that I almost feel that these are real people, not actors. I hope <more>
that if you get the chance to see this movie that you will take it, because it is completely worth your time! The movie was so raw and real and is not something you even have to relate to to feel connected to the plot.This deserves so many awards and accolades because this movie is just truly enjoyable. Loved it and oh, did I mention that it was AMAZING!!!??!?!??!?!!!
This movie is great!! Jack O'Connell is an amazing actor! (by SummerMaru)
I'm not a big fan of prison movies but wanted to see this because Jack O'Connell was in it. There might be spoilers - not big ones. Jack O'Connell's performance was amazing. Even a friend of mine who hated him in "Tower Block" agreed. Aside from some normal prison behavior that's to be expected, Rupert Friend's character, Baumer, runs an anger management group. I really liked the way Baumer stood up for Eric O'Connell and gave him a chance to help himself. There's a lot of tension in the prison, considering Eric's father, Neville, had been there <more>
for years already and seems to be second in charge among the prisoners. Neville is jealous of how Eric was able to gets along with a few other inmates so fast without his help.Only a few minutes into the movie and action starts. I don't know how anyone could have been bored. It has a really good storyline included in the prison theme. I couldn't wait to see what was going to happen. I've watched it almost 5 times already and not because of the nudity .One of the best parts is near the beginning, when the warden asks Eric if he would agree to going to the anger group and his response is the best! It shows how smart he is. One line is similar to, 'if everyone gets a chance to reform, you'll be out of a job'. I liked that because it's so true.
A generally fine effort that brings the brutal world of Brit prisons into the 21st century (by davideo-2)
STAR RATING: ***** Saturday Night **** Friday Night *** Friday Morning ** Sunday Night * Monday MorningEric Love Jack O'Connoll is a couple of years younger than necessary to be transferred from a young offender's institution to an adult prison, but due to his explosively violent nature, a rare exception has been made. He seems under control, until he is disturbed while sleeping by another inmate and ferociously over-reacts. After trying and failing to talk his way out of the situation, his inflamed, anti-authoritarian streak bursts to life and he proves tricky for Governor Hayes <more>
Sam Spruell and his staff to deal with. From here, he encounters two people who may be the key to turning him round: dedicated social worker Oliver Rupert Friend and Neville Ben Mendolsohn the equally violent head of the wing...who also happens to be his dad.While the harsh reality of prison life is rarely glossed over in any sort of filmed medium, save for maybe Ronnie Barker's hit sitcom Porridge, since the late '70's nothing quite like Alan Clarke's Scum has come close to matching the gritty brutality and hopelessness of prison life, leaving it a genre just begging to be dragged in to the 21st century with a fresh injection of raw adrenaline. The opening half of David Mackenzie's film seems to rely on atmosphere rather than exposition, with a dialogue light opening half as the lead protagonist is lead to his cell, and made to go through the various rituals and indignities on his way there until the door is locked shut. When O'Connoll first speaks in a cockney accent! it's with the prison lingo that will make no sense to those who don't know it, and from there on in he frequently opens his mouth with savage ferocity and intense profanity.Starred Up is hailed as O'Connoll's 'break through' film, and there's no doubt he's running the show here, firmly commanding his presence as the explosive thug with raging personal issues blaring inside him, in a role that he's got form with and suits well. It's the closest thing he may well have in making him a household name, or at least getting a cult following among some. There are strong supporting turns also from Friend as the impassioned social worker and Mendolsohn as the closest thing to an authority figure O'Connoll will be made to respect. It's a film driven more by the nature of his respective relationships with these two men, and as such it feels more about these human dynamics rather than the story, which by the end has lost it's coherence a bit and loses your attention, despite the ensuing events still holding your attention for other reasons.Still, sometimes, a film needs to come along that hits you like a punch in the dark, and Starred Up fits the bill perfectly, a brutal, unflinching expose of a world most of us probably don't want to imagine, a little flawed, but mostly solid. ****
A window into the reality that is British society. (by JohnLamberio)
Firstly, this is not an uplifting or feel good film, nor was it ever intended to be. If you like your film gritty and pulsatingly realistic, you'd be going back years to find a film that stands up to this.From the outset, it is clear our young protagonist is fighting not just for survival within a hardened prison wing, but also demons that reside within. Hope is offered in the shape of a freelancing counsellor, which is initially met with disdain during a group meeting. The film then continues to show graphically , the complex arrangements within the prison walls, and how relationships <more>
can often start badly, but develop into a more meaningful co-existence ad friendship because of it.The usual bad prison warden is on offer too, but is done so delectably well. The anger the viewer feels at certain points in this film is palpable from the sheer heartlessness of the authorities. Prisoner's are not viewed with any great sense of humanity, dependant on stature within the the Prison of course. The unfairness of it all had me wanting to wring the neck of certain characters, all due to the powerlessness of the our protagonists position.Does the young charger hold back? Never. Like a bull ramming it's horns against an immovable wall, he keeps the pressure on inmates and authorities alike. It's a ferocious watch, and superbly realised by Jack O'Connell playing Eric, a star in the making for certain.Terrific acting, superb directing, eye-watering set pieces and an emotive experience of life on the inside. Simply does not get better. 10/10
This might be the best of all British prison pictures. (by MOscarbradley)
Of all the films made about the British prison system David MacKenzie's "Starred Up" may be the best. It's deeply angry, very violent and totally without sentimentality even if its premiss, a father and son are banged up together in the same prison , threatens to slide into melodrama. In these roles Ben Mendelsohn and relative newcomer Jack O'Connell are superb. O'Connell, in particular, is extraordinary. From the first moment he appears he's like some frightened but very dangerous animal ready to lash out at anything and everyone, which he frequently does. They <more>
are the lynch-pins of a terrific ensemble playing fellow prisoners and various prison staff, none of whom actually appear to be acting, but for its slightly glossy sheen this could be a documentary .Even at their worst, most prison films tend to paint their prisons as places of almost romantic camaraderie with prisoners united as one against the brutal screws. Not here; here it's every man for himself in a kill or be killed world where violence isn't so much a daily occurrence but something that seems to be happening on the hour every hour while the screws are seen as mostly venal men and women perpetuating an already corrupt system. The title, by the way, refers to a prisoner who is considered highly dangerous but what this amazing film shows is that, however fouled up that system is, redemption of a kind is still possible. It was filmed in its entirety at the Crumlin Road Gaol, Belfast and at the Maze Prison, Long Kesh and it never moves outside.
Well made but think twice about this one... (by MartinHafer)
As I said above, think twice before going to see "Starred Up". I don't say this because it's a bad film--it is very well made in fact. However, it's one of the most violent and grim prison films you can find and it's likely to make many folks depressed watching it. Because it strives for realism, it is incredibly vicious, there's some full-frontal nudity and the language is truly prison-like! So, don't let your kids watch it* and think twice before you watch it as well. If you think you're up to it, the movie is worth seeing.When the film begins, Eric <more>
Jack O'Connell is being processed in to prison. Exactly what he did to get there isn't ever clear--all you know is that he did some pretty bad things. However, after calmly walking through this, it's soon obvious that Eric is NOT your typical prisoner. It's not because he's so young--prison is full of young punks. However, he's so violent that even most of the prisoners are soon afraid of him. He is a boiling cauldron of rage and hate--and almost everything seems to set him off. Now you'd assume that such a nasty character would soon get himself killed, but Eric is so mean that he seems destined to possibly survive incarceration. However, a few of the old-timers are NOT pleased and it's all a matter of time until he's dead. But there is an interesting trump card--one of the old timers who practically runs the place turns out to be Eric's father. What's next? See the film.My biggest problem with watching this film isn't the violence or language. A long time ago, in my therapist days, I worked with the prison population so I wasn't really shocked by all this nastiness. No, my biggest problem were the accents. I am a bit hard of hearing my oldest daughter attributes this to be being 'an old fart'! and I sure would have loved some captions. Perhaps when it's released to DVD this will be an option.Aside from this, the film is well made and represents prisoners pretty well. It's sure a grim lot and I could understand folks not wanting to watch nearly two hours of such hate and anger--but this is how many folks behave inside prisons. So, if you're looking for realism, you sure have it with this film. And, although Eric is not a huge guy, Jack O'Connell does a good job playing this menacing, violent and incredibly dangerous young man. So, my verdict is that this is a very well made film....but one that probably won't have a lot of folks wanting to line up and see it. It is NOT a nice little story like "The Shawshank Redemption" but is ugly, raw and powerful.*I normally would not recommend a film like this to kids. However, perhaps young hoodlums would do well to see what prison is like unless they decide to make some life changes.
For a film that seemed to come out of nowhere, with a limited advertisement campaign and small budget, Starred Up has proved to be one of the more ballsy pictures released in some time - and with a UK release date sandwiched between two major blockbuster sequels, it had to do something to stand out from the crowd.The main attribute of the film is its acting, most notably central character Jack O'Connell; a career-best performance from our lead protagonist serves as the driving force of the film, immersing the audience so much in the drama of it all that we can't believe we're <more>
feeling sorry for the prick we thought we knew in the opening stages.However we all know that good acting doesn't necessarily constitute a good film; but placing such talent in the hands of David Mackenzie and providing a gripping albeit unoriginal story line is a damn good combination.Despite the many positives, where this film fails is in the variety of on-screen shenanigans. Although it does slowly progress, the day-to-day life on the inside seems repetitive and predictable, particularly when the overall message is all too familiar and practically clichéd. All in all however, Starred Up is one of the best prison dramas in a long time, and probably the best British film this year. Not for the faint-hearted, this superbly acted drama will scare you into following the law to the strictest command.
most up to date and realistic prison film since "Scum" (by jasonedwar)
don't know who made this film... just watched it last night...Was far better than i expected... No holds barred. Research has clearly been done well. acting was very good by all, especially the kid. surprised i haven't seen these people before. the violence depicted is brutal but accurate as an everyday occurrence in uk jails. even the methods used in applying that violence and the slang language are all about right. The only other film i can compare it to is "Bronson".. as thats the only other prison film i have seen recently. i would say bronson portrays dramatisation and <more>
artistic licence,, also i didn't find bronson to be consistent with the storyline....starred up is none of those,,,,the storyline is extremely consistent.. the only gripe i have with this film is that several obvious questions were left unanswered at the end. doesn't spoil the film though