Director David Mackenzie blends beauty and brutality in this tale of a young offender relocated to the adult prison where his father is locked up.
Taking its name from the rare circumstance whereby a young offender is transferred to an adult prison on the basis of their uncontrollably violent behaviour, Starred Up introduces us to Eric, a teenage inmate with an explosive temperament. Now Eric’s time inside looks set to become even more challenging when he is relocated to the same prison where his estranged father is also locked up. As the already volatile relationship between the two is pushed to breaking point, Eric is approached by a volunteer therapist who invites him to join his discussion group, leading Eric to take a look at his life and actions. Inspired by his first hand experience working with violent criminals in Wandsworth prison, debut screenwriter Jonathan Asser’s script exudes authenticity, presenting a hard-hitting and often merciless account of life behind bars. In so convincingly tapping into the psychological states of those who are incarcerated, Starred Up rises above the familiar traits of the prison film, presenting a fresh and urgent take on the genre. David Mackenzie’s dynamic but controlled direction blends beauty and brutality, while shining at the film’s heart are two extraordinary, nuanced performances from Jack O’Connell and Ben Mendelsohn, who bring life to the physical and emotional struggles of this troubled father and son.
To attend this screening you must be 18 or over.
Enjoy a world of benefits with BFI Cinema Membership.
Follow the BFI London Film Festival live blog.