Starred Up

Starred Up ★★★★½

David Mackenzie’s enormously intense, powerful prison drama brings so much rawness and edge that makes it an uncomfortably compelling viewing experience. The film engages with its ultra-layered narrative that extends beyond through its genre. The sociological and psychological implications of fatherhood, teenage angst, survival, British prison culture/system, and masculinity are all solidly orchestrated in one fine drama.

I really admire the film’s rich, layered narrative that astounded me from start to finish. The film gets better and better as it unfolds and I must say it’s very unique and clever. Mackenzie’s brutal command of the film’s atmosphere perfectly fits with its raw, gritty, ear-gasmic screenplay. But sometimes though, its (ultra) profane language makes me unease. Though the film’s emotional payoff is very gratifying.

The acting is flat-out stupendous. It’s the acting that makes this stick altogether. This British acting force of nature, Jack O’Connell delivers a bruising performance as Eric Love, the extremely volatile young inmate in need for some anger management. O’Connell is surely one of the top young actors to watch for. His screen father played dynamically by Ben Mendelssohn is also solid as Eric’s father/co-inmate also in need for some enlightenment. Another thing that I loved is that the film gave justice to its ensemble/supporting actors who are totally fleshed-out and carefully written. Kudos to these actors. Overall, it’s a brilliant, powerfully-acted drama that totally exceeded my expectations. It’s hard-hitting, violent, yet it provides that certain emotional honesty that makes it compelling to watch.

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