Starred Up (2013) - explosively violent, brutal, intense prison film

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"Starred Up"- when a young violent offender is moved up into an adult prison because he is ready for tougher conditions.

19 year old Eric Love (Jack O'Connell ) has been in the system since childhood and none of it has been good for him. His bad attitude, quick temper and anything goes brawling has finally landed him in an adult UK prison where the rules are different and breaking them will get you killed. Eric's violent lifer father is also in the same prison but seriously lacks any parenting skills to say the least. He tries his best to keep his son alive but Eric is determined to go his own way. Should Eric play the system in order to get out or not change to become a leading prison crime lord?

Hand held cameras follow Eric through cramped cells and narrow corridors filled with prisoners draw the viewer into the dark claustrophobic environment with very little privacy, the realism is extreme. The soundtrack is filled with the loud slamming of heavy steel cell doors, the effect is jarring and final. Eric's father sums it up when he says  “It’s fuckin’ prison, innit?”.

Jack O'Connell's performance is fearless, like a caged animal he is wary, un-trusting, wound up and ready to explode at the slightest provocation relishing the anticipated release no matter the outcome. Jack is also in the excellent sci-fi romance "Little Fish" that is set in the near future. Watch the two films as a double feature with Jack's character Jude as the reformed, kinder gentler Eric.

Starred Up is filled with swear words and insults throughout, this is a very rough crowd. Filmed in Northern Ireland, the accents and slang can be indecipherable so I watch with the English subtitles on. Hint: 'kanga' is used throughout the film. It is common UK prison slang for Prison Officer. It is derived from 'kangaroo', which is rhyming slang for 'screw', the more traditional slang term for Prison Officers.

99% on RT

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