Foggy’s review published on Letterboxd:
Starred Up is a pretty intense and gripping drama about a young offender who is transferred into a high security prison where his Dad attempts to reconcile and protect his son from other inmates and wardens. However it seems like his Father could be causing his son more harm than good in the long run.
First thing worth mentioning is that Starred Up isn't really my sort of movie. It's the Shane Meadows sort of brash masculinity brewing film with a strong affection towards the forbidden C-word. Not to say I don't like Meadows work, but it seems to be speaking to a different audience than me and it tends to attract an audience that I'm not too fond of.
That said, it is a crowd pleaser, if they can handle to difficult subject matter they should find themselves embroiled with what the film has to say. And while it's not exactly the deepest of films, it's well directed and acted (granted the script is a bit flavourless) that you'll find yourself thinking about the directions it moves in.
That said, it does have a lot of problems with a few contrived events and decisions to push conflict forward. Along with some authority figures that come across a bit power hungry with little to no reason for their actions. But at the end of the day, the main importances is the relationship between Jack O'Connell and Ben Mendelsohn, and they both handle their respected performances with power. I'm pretty sure O'Connell is on the edge of a breakthrough performance, all he needs now is to pick his next role wisely.