Jack O'Connell, Ben Mendelsohn, Rupert Friend, Sam Spruell, Anthony Welsh, David Ajala, Peter Ferdinando, Raphael Sowole, Gilly Gilchrist, Duncan Airlie James, Gershwyn Eustache, Ashley Chin, David Avery, Tommy McDonnell, Frederick Schmidt, Sian Breckin
19-year-old Eric Love (Jack O'Connell), arrogant and ultra-violent, is prematurely transferred to the same adult prison facility as his estranged father (Ben Mendelsohn). As his explosive temper quickly finds him enemies in both prison authorities and fellow inmates and his already volatile relationship with his father is pushed past breaking point, Eric is approached by a volunteer psychotherapist (Rupert Friend), who runs an anger management group for prisoners.
Well acted, Starred Up is brilliant, brutal, and smart prison drama about anger, father-son relationship, and forgiveness.
Written by an actual voluntary therapist following his own experiences at Prison Wandsworth, the great script appears genuine, and realistic in describing the psychological condition and behavior of the inmates, and with the same authenticity brings us on the path of redemption of a young prisoner. The extremely realistic view of prison gives the feel of watching a documentary, feeling increased also by the almost complete absence of music.
Director David Mackenzie succeeds in dosing the dramatic element, and offers a compelling portrait of the complex relationship between father and son, both with a disturbed personality, and conflicting with each other.
If I had a gun pointed at my head, and being asked what's the problem with this film I'd go with the accents. The violence and the bad language didn't bother me at all, but not being a English native speaker, and not knowing English perfectly, I had some problems understanding, but there were captions, so problem solved.
The acting is great. Jack O'Connell gives a superb performance and delivers one of the most memorable prisoner character I've seen. Ben Mendelsohn also gives a fantastic performance as O'Connell's estranged father. The supporting cast also gives great performances.
Eric: I'm just saying. Said this therapy goes well and it changes my life and I rehabilitate. And then you lay it on for the next geezer and it works for him, and the next. And everything's sweet yeah? Crime rates starts to come down, police got less people to nick, courts got less people to convict. Pretty soon you're out of a job.