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Universal acclaim - based on 24 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 28 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , ,
  • Summary: 19-year-old Eric (Jack O'Connell) is prematurely transferred to the same adult prison facility as his estranged father (Ben Mendelsohn). As his explosive temper quickly finds him enemies in both the prison authorities and fellow inmates — and his already volatile relationship with his father is pushed past the breaking point — Eric is approached by a volunteer psychotherapist (Rupert Friend), who runs an anger management group for prisoners. Torn between gang politics, prison corruption, and a glimmer of something better, Eric finds himself in a fight for his own life, unsure if his own father is there to protect him or join in punishing him. [Tribeca Film] Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 24
  2. Negative: 0 out of 24
  1. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Aug 26, 2014
    100
    This is an unsparing picture, one whose violence, though deftly handled, is bone-crunchingly rough. Yet its emotional contours are surprisingly delicate, thanks, in large part to O’Connell’s performance.
  2. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Mar 18, 2014
    91
    Mackenzie (whose previous credits include "Perfect Sense" and "Young Adam") applies a sharp kitchen sink realism to this haunting setting and directs it toward an ultimately moving family drama that just happens to involve vicious convicts.
  3. Reviewed by: Tasha Robinson
    Aug 28, 2014
    90
    The most tremendous thing about Starred Up is exactly how simple it keeps things, and what a richly nuanced story emerges in the process.
  4. Reviewed by: Kevin Harley
    Mar 17, 2014
    80
    The details ring true and the performances smart in Mackenzie’s prison movie. You wouldn’t meet Jack O’Connell’s tasty glare in a boozer, but try taking your eyes off him here.
  5. Reviewed by: David Denby
    Sep 8, 2014
    80
    At first, you may think, Oh, it’s that damn prison movie again, but Starred Up has a much more intimate texture of affection and disdain than most genre films. You’re held by every exchange, every fight.
  6. Reviewed by: Chris Nashawaty
    Aug 27, 2014
    75
    Like Eric Bana's menacingly raw breakout in 2000's "Chopper" or Tom Hardy's in 2008's "Bronson," O'Connell bristles with terrifying hair-trigger unpredictability. Watching him, you feel like you're witnessing the arrival of a new movie star.
  7. Reviewed by: Tom Huddleston
    Mar 18, 2014
    60
    It’s disappointing when Starred Up begins to lapse into soapy cliché.

See all 24 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 7
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 7
  3. Negative: 1 out of 7
  1. Aug 27, 2014
    10
    Smart script, powerful story from start to finish, realistic style and terrific performance from Jack O'Connell, MacKenzie successfully makes "Starred Up" hitting your feeling and your mind as hard as the prison life always be. It's easily one of the best prison drama film I ever seen. Expand
  2. Aug 27, 2014
    9
    This is a surprisingly powerful prison drama that manages to rise above the generally expected level for this type of genre film. Due to an excellent screenplay which balances grit with humour it is gripping from beginning to end. Relative newcomer Jack O'Connell in a star making performance (Angelina Jolie obviously took note) holds centre stage with ease as the junior offender who is 'Starred Up' and finds himself transferred to an adult prison where he is unwittingly re-united with his dad. As the estranged and neglectful father Ben Mendelsohn demonstrates, yet again, what a great character actor he is (He all but stole 'Killing me Softly'). The film is very intense and one scene of violence is so shocking that it had me literally holding my breath!
    Technically I found the sound to be inaudible at times which, unfortunately, causes some of the humour to be lost. Never the less this is first rate stuff demonstrating cinema at its provocative best.
    Expand
  3. Sep 7, 2014
    9
    It's an outstanding movie and the conversation starts and finishes with the brilliant cast. Both father and son are incredibly good. It almost feels like we're watching an entire season of Oz and one nice two hour chunk. This one is absolutely worth seeing on the big screen if it's playing in your neck of the woods. Expand
  4. Aug 30, 2014
    8
    A film well worth watching as long as you're not feeling a bit vulnerable or depressed! Very accurate reflection of life in Britain's crumbling prison system, and the two main characters are both superbly acted. Expand
  5. Sep 22, 2014
    8
    The latest British prison movie, which was partially based on the true story. The whole movie was shot inside a prison evolving into depicting the prison life. When a young, but a violent crime offender, Eric been transformed into an adult penitentiary, he meets his compeer. His strength will be tested against his counterparts who are two times older than him. The young fellow all prepared to face the most dangerous criminals from the country. Thus his restless days begin to fight for survival. He signs for therapy meet which is forced by his father who is also an inmate. Like all the father, the story describes his role as a protector. Definitely not a melodrama, but deliberately aggressive and he can do anything to defend his son.

    ‘‘Starred up means you are leader.’’

    Impressive tricks by the felons who hide their weapons and other stuffs which can be useful for their defense. There is no exact story, scene by scene, it just replicates the real prison's daily activities and experiences that one can go through. It is not a greatest prison story ever told, but the contents were so powerful, like, as I said it was kind of inspired by a real person's. Jack O'Connell was unbelievably good in his role. He's having a wonderful time right now and I am eager for his next venture 'Unbroken'. The other characters were not that exposed as he was, but given equal good performances. I have not seen any prison related movie recently and this movie surprisingly met above my expectation.

    7.5/10
    Expand
  6. Aug 30, 2014
    8
    Jack O'Conmnell steals the show in this prison drama. Although hard to understand the accents at times, this movie held my interest and was realistic.

See all 7 User Reviews

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