David Jenkins’s review published on Letterboxd:
A brutally tense and immersive prison drama with a star-making turn from Jack O'Connell. I hated almost every character in this film but it was in a 'love to hate' kind of way. The acting on show from all involved was phenomenal but O'Connell was the true stand out. He soars as the young offender with 'daddy issues' and seems to have a bright career ahead of him. While some scenes descend into melodramatics the film sticks its landing due to its intelligent direction and gritty realism. The best scenes involved Rupert Friend's anger management classes where the actors bounce off one another with a gripping intensity that has you on the edge of your seat. You expect all hell to break out at any moment and it leaves you second guessing what will happen next due to the sheer unpredictability of the characters. As a view towards prison and the inmates contained within, 'Starred Up' is both bleak and ferocious but as a character study of these troubled men it is truly compelling stuff.