Having loved David Mackenzie's latest film 2016's 'Hell or High Water' and being recommended another critically acclaimed film 'Starred Up', via reviews for 'Hell or High Water' praising some of Mackenzie's previous work, 'Starred Up' fascinated me from the get go and didn't disappoint.
It is a near-instant classic, though its hard-hitting and brutally violent nature won't appeal to everybody, and British prison drama doesn't get much better than 'Starred Up'. What seems familiar, and it doesn't exactly tread new ground, avoids being clichéd. To me, the only thing that doesn't quite work is that some of the prison justice elements is a little overcooked. Otherwise, 'Starred Up' is terrific.
'Starred Up' looks stylish and enhances the setting's realistic queasiness and toughness. The music is suitably haunting, without overdoing or underplaying it.
Mackenzie directs with darkly compelling realism and plays a large part in making the father-son relationship so gripping and dynamic, creating an environment so dehumanising and harrowing and delving into the film's sociological tone.
The script is taut, sharp and smart, authentic in its abrasiveness yet with welcome and never misplaced humour and never forced pathos. And life in prison has rarely been depicted with the amount of clarity shown here. The storytelling really hits hard in a gritty and unashamedly uncompromising fashion, develops the remarkably complex characters beautifully and never holds back or take any prisoners, while bleak and violent it's effective in showing prison life's brutality and never trivialising it.
Jack O'Connell's anti-hero is tragically troubled while showing sympathetic and powerful sides, seamlessly commanding the screen in a powerhouse lead performance. His performance is matched brilliantly by the coldly intense one of Ben Mendelssohn. Their complex characters and dynamic chemistry dominate the film and outstandingly. Rupert Friend is just as strong.
Overall, not quite perfect but absolutely wonderful. Just know what you're letting yourself in for. 9/10 Bethany Cox
Action / Crime / Drama
Action / Crime / Drama
Eric Love is a 19 year old teenager who is so violent he has been 'Starred Up' (Moved to Adult prison) where he finds his father Neville who Eric hasn't seen since he was 5 (since he was put into care). Neville tries to get Eric to settle down, so Eric gets a chance to go through therapy with Oliver.
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May 01, 2015 at 02:43 AM