Eric Love, 19, is locked up in prison. On first day he assaults another inmate and several guards. He's offered group therapy and his dad, an inmate as well, tries to talk sense into him. Can he be rehabilitated?
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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.Written by
STARRED UP is another modern-day prison flick, this time a British one. Before everybody starts groaning and thinking "what, again?!", let me reassure you that this one's not sugar-coated at all. There's no sentiment here, just brutality throughout, and yet it becomes an immersive and thought-provoking experience. Even with all the violence and bad language and animalistic behaviour, there is still light at the end of the tunnel.
The film features Jack O'Connell ('71) in a star-making performance as a disturbed young man who has just been transferred (aka starred up) to men's prison from juvenile. To complicate things further, his own father is an inmate, and the two have a volatile relationship. I've seen the Australian actor Ben Mendelsohn before in a few Hollywood flicks and didn't think much of him, but he's a perfect fit for the part here.
A lot of the usual prison clichés are played out here, but they happen in a matter-of-fact and dare I say it grimly realistic way. The violence is brutal but not overdone, and it does serve a purpose rather than being gratuitous. And the realism is top-notch, reminding me of the BRONSON film at times. Despite all this writer Jonathan Asser manages to tell a believable storyline with an identifiable beginning, middle, and end. It's a good little film, although not for all tastes given the subject matter.
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