Starred Up

Starred Up ★★★★

It's fantastic to finally see a prison-related film which takes a serious stance on the possibility of rehabilitation through therapy. Mentoring methods are exposed to the aggressive in a number of scenes. This film seems genuinely interested in raising such questions of whether prison should be for rehabilitation or punishment.

Respectively, it's also exempt of any thematic grandeur or artistic embellishments (A Prophet, arguably superior), yet there's bearing here, for Mackenzie's primary concerns are centralized on the pestilence of cell block politics, unlawful authorities, volatile tempers and improbable answers. However, he appropriately opts for booming reds to amplify a state of mind or sprawl across the vast prison in all its spatial geometry.

In addition, violence is recurrent and seldom presented as a solution to the character's needs. Those characters, 19-year-old Eric, (O'Connell in an utterly flawless performance of swaggering rage), his faltering father Nev (Mendelsohn effortlessly masters the slang-ridden dialect) and a volunteer psychologist (Rupert Friend, dedicated and desperate) are at face value in their ability to function.

Lastly, there's a sensitive side and profound humanism. The father-son relationship touches upon encouragement, meddling, abuse, bloodlust and heartrending acceptance. I truly cared.

One of the best prison dramas in recent memory.

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