Indie Gems: Starred Up
Punch first, think later.
Eric (Jack O'Connell) is 19 and has recently been "starred up" from a juvenile facility to an adult prison due to his violent behavior. He ends up in the same wing as his estranged father, Neville (Ben Mendelsohn) who attempts to micromanage his son's life on the inside. He also bonds with Oliver (Rupert Friend) a counselor who is determined to rehabilitate him.
Despite following a similar formula that prison dramas tend to abide by, Starred Up is pushed beyond that due to the powerful performances. Admittedly, I haven't seen a lot of O'Connell's work, but he was brilliant here. He perfectly embodied Eric in all his anger and trauma he has suffered. Same with Mendelsohn as his father. I found Neville to be rather annoying, but towards the end of the film it becomes very obvious why he's acting that way. I have to give Friend credit as well. I've been referring to him as the "poor man's Orlando Bloom" since I saw him in Pride and Prejudice, but he's probably the better actor. Touche, asshole me.
This is a very hard drama. It's shot entirely in the prison and there isn't even a score to accompany it. There's little room for light moments (though the prisoners drink from ceramic mugs with their names painted on them in big purple letters, that amused me. It's like they made them in an art class or something) but it works perfectly for the tone. It definitely lived up to the hype from Alex and Josh.
Memorable Quote: "You are fucking embarrassing. You are pathetic." - Eric (Jack O'Connell)