“Starred Up” Review ✦✦✦✦✧

14 September, 2016

Year of Release: 2013
David Mackenzie
Jonathan Asser
Director of Photography: 
Michael McDonough
Jack O’Connell, Ben Mendelsohn

Synopsis: A young offender transferred to an adult correctional facility in London unexpectedly crosses paths with his estranged father who ignites an even greater rage within the heart of the vicious inmate.

Starred Up Review:

A blood, sweat, and tears story excreted from the bowels of a corrupt prison system, “Starred Up” takes a lot of hits to the stomach in a film about caged testosterone and broken families. Friends, enemies, and brothers become interchangeable as the prisoners are left to fester like dangerous cattle confined to an abandoned outhouse. They are ferocious animals, living a gruff and virile existence as every footstep and off-hand comment brings with it a sense of unpredictability. For Eric, the trauma is even more painful as his rebellious nature is heightened by the presence of a man who is predominately to blame for his tumultuous upbringing and someone with whom he shares a destructive temper.

Even during calmer and more meditative moments, “Starred Up” sits outside of everyday codes of conduct. It’s an up close and personal movie about a group of inmates whose suffering is very real and their forging of makeshift weapons and reaction to petty insults feels completely authentic within such an environment. This is a film that cannot possibly provide a standard happy ending but it’s one that works towards giving something back to those who invest in Eric’s story. Featuring one of the most overlooked Ben Mendelsohn performances to date, “Starred Up” forges an unbreakable bond between its lead actors, even when they are at loggerheads for most of its running time.


Review Date
Starred Up