I love prison movies. If you’ve been reading this site for a while I probably sound like a broken record at this point, but it’s true, it’s one of my favorite sub-genres. Any opportunity to watch a movie about prison I’m in, which is why at the Tribeca Film Festival I made it a point to see the UK prison drama Starred Up, directed by David Mackenzie. I never got around to reviewing the film but it actually ended up being one of the best films I saw at this year’s festival. It clearly made an impact on Tribea Films too since they’re going to be releasing the flick on August 29th in NYC.
Starred Up has played a handful of big festivals and has been critically praised by most outlets. It’s a solid film with an impressive performance from up-and-comer Jack O’Connell and worth checking out. The trailer give you a good look at the violent nature of the film but it doesn’t really reflect how intense and heavy the film can get. Check out the trailer and synopsis below and if put this on your radar if you’re looking for a solid indie flick to watch.
19-year-old Eric (Jack O’Connell, star of the upcoming UNBROKEN), arrogant and ultra-violent, is prematurely transferred to the same adult prison facility as his estranged father (Ben Mendelsohn, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES). 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, “Homeland”), who runs an anger management group for prisoners. Torn between gang politics, prison corruption, and a glimmer of something better, Eric finds himself in a fight for his own life, unsure if his own father is there to protect him or join in punishing him. Written by prison system therapist Jonathan Asser, STARRED UP is a merciless, uncompromising portrayal of a dehumanizing life behind bars, and the most accomplished film of David Mackenzie’s career; as father and son, Mendelsohn and O’Connell give extraordinary performances, charting a path that resembles Greek tragedy.