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.
‘Starred Up’ is the British term for the controversial measure of transferring highly delinquent young people to adult jails before they reach the age of 21. Eric, aged 19, is one such young man. As a scared and angry teenager he ends up in the prison where his father Neville is serving his sentence. The voluntary therapist Oliver invites Eric to join group therapy sessions, and slowly Eric regains a sense of hope in his future
A raw and heart-rending look at life behind bars from the perspective of a very angry but also fearful teenager. One of the best films of the year, with a formidable leading role for the young British actor Jack O’Connell. Starred Up is a gruesome and realistic drama that focuses on a dysfunctional father-son relationship and the eventual reconciliation. The screenplay was written by Jonathan Asser; for 12 years he did the same work as the character Oliver. He knows from experience what it’s like in this type of prison and this is reflected in the wealth of telling details he includes (such as a small gesture made by one prisoner to another to convey something).
With an emotionally enthralling script, great acting and strong direction, Mackenzie breaks new ground in the prison drama genre. This achievement has already translated into worldwide success. Starred Up was nominated for eight British Independent Film Awards and the film won third place in the UPC Audience Awards at the International Film Festival Rotterdam.