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STARRED UP

Director: DAVID MACKENZIE

U.K., Colour, D-Cinema


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Young offender Eric (Jack O’Connell) is transferred to the adult prison in which his father Neville (Ben Mendelsohn) is also held. Eric is unpredictable, prone to outbursts of extreme violence at the slightest provocation which make him a target for retribution. Trying to protect him and facilitate his integration into this environment, Neville orders Eric into anger management sessions with a well-meaning if ineffectual volunteer therapist. Eclectic director David Mackenzie (Young Adam, Hallam Foe) takes the tropes of prison films, such as the cold-hearted guard, the convict kingpin, and inmate homosexuality and drug use, and manages to make something fresh of them, adding a rich vein of humour to the mix. Ultimately, it becomes a father-son drama where the audience gains a measure of sympathy and compassion for dangerous and vicious characters for whom such feelings would initially seem very unlikely. (Notes by Kevin Coyne.)

★★★★ The Irish Times/ Movies.ie/Entertainment.ie       ★★★★1/2 RTÉ.ie

Winner of Best Actor (Jack O’ Connell) at the Dublin Film Critics Circle at JDIFF 2014.

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