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Starred Up

Eric (played by Jack O’Connell) is a convict who has been starred up – moved from juvenile to adult prison. It turns out that he is assigned to the same prison as his father Neville (Ben Mendelsohn). The film provides a very unflinching examination of prison life through the lens of the relationship between Eric and his father. Eric is very angry, and his father clearly wants to protect him as he adjusts to adult prison life. One never knows exactly whether Neville is on Eric’s side or not, which provides the movie with its tension and suspense. Big thumbs up for a film that features outstanding performances by O’Connell (who clearly is a capable actor rather miscast in Unbroken) and Mendelsohn who I remember from the powerful film Animal Kingdom. The film has a lot of prison related violence and is psychologically intense, but those who want a sobering look at male anger and power in the context of prison life, the movie is great. I also had to use close captioning, as the British/Scottish accents were hard to follow at times.

About Gary Burkholder

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