This movie, “Starred Up” is a British film starring Jack O’Connell and Ben Mendelson as a pair of criminals locked up in prison.
To begin this review, I must say that this is not your typical prison movie, there are themes throughout this movie such as what it means to be a father, forgiving those who have wronged you, letting go of your anger, as well as showing you the grittiness that is prison life.
In that aspect of prison life, this movie doesn’t hold back, and I loved it for that. It showed the ugly truth, that there are politics within prison according to race, with the interpersonal relationships between the the inmates and the guards.
Starred Up–tells the story of Eric Love, a teenager that gets moved up to adult prison because he is so violent. It is when he moves to the adult prison that he is reunited with his absent father, Neville Love. The two have a struggle to reconcile a bad relationship from the past as well as Neville trying to mentor the young Eric. He has many confrontations with other inmates as well as entering a therapy group where he meets Ol’ who is a counselor that believes that he can change the inmates. It is this group that the softer, more vulnerable side of Eric. Other confrontations transpire but, in the end…Neville and Eric have a reconciliation of sorts.
Overall this movie is filed with great performances, especially by O’Connell and Mendelson, filled with a bottled up setting in the prison that acts like a pressure-cooker and the violence is on parr with Bronson. This is a violent, gritty, realistic take on a prison movie with the father-son story at the heart of it.