Starred Up serves its porridge with bits of broken glass. It grins as it spits teeth, just as likely to erupt into another volcanic episode of violence as it is to cough up a pearl of prison wisdom.

Jack O’Connell’s Eric is a piranha in a tank full of sloshing blood and hungry sharks. His character personifies this film: fresh, snarling, aggressive. But underneath, there’s so much more: a yolk of yearning for rehabilitation below a machismo shell of rebellion.

It isn’t perfect, but Starred Up might just be the most startling British film since This Is England.

Starred Up’s prison is another pylon of hate, buzzing with the electric fury of its inmates. But despite its use of tried-and-tested tropes, David Mackenzie has made something that feels incredibly refreshing and relevant. 



CAST: Jack O’Connell, Ben Mendelsohn, Rupert Friend

DIRECTOR: David Mackenzie

WRITERS: Jonathan Asser

SYNOPSIS: A troubled and explosively violent teenager is transferred to adult prison where he finally meets his match – a man who also happens to be his father.