Starred Up

Starred Up ★★★★

"You're getting blood on my floor, now fuck off"

Eric is a young offender "starred up" to an adult prison and eager to make his mark rather than keep his head down and do his time.

Possibly the most realistic portrayal of life in a British prison I've seen. It's brutal, shocking and, at times, very moving. Everything about the film seems "right"; the slang and the fact that it's not toned down for an international audience, the down and dirty violence, the procedures, the relationships. Filmed in sequence and in a very straight forward manner, everything seems so immediate and almost documentary like.

I guess if there is one theme to the film it is relationships, how they are built, strengthened, tested and sometimes destroyed in a hothouse environment.

If we lock people away from society in little boxes without access to forms of rehabilitation and therapy, should we be surprised when they become institutionalised and stuck in a vicious circle of violence and increased sentence length. Still it's a lot easier than trying to help.

As far as the realism is concerned, my Dad trained be a prison officer but quit, not because of the prisoners themselves, but because he couldn't handle the way that the prisoners were treated by some of the guards. Maybe the real thing is not quite as bad as portrayed. I certainly hope not.

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