Starred Up

Starred Up Image
Metascore
81

Universal acclaim - based on 26 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 69 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 father19-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

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 26
  2. Negative: 0 out of 26
  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: Damon Wise
    Mar 17, 2014
    80
    A brutal, immersive prison survival story with a breakout performance by British actor Jack O’Connell.
  5. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Aug 28, 2014
    80
    Thematically tough and emotionally rough, Starred Up is the kind of movie you might enter into with some reluctance. But because everyone involved does such an outstanding job, it's also the kind of movie you won't want to see end.
  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 26 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 14
  2. Negative: 1 out of 14
  1. Aug 27, 2014
    10
    Smart script, powerful story from start to finish, realistic style and terrific performance from Jack O'Connell, MacKenzie successfully makesSmart 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. Jan 24, 2015
    10
    I have not been to prison except to visit a loved one moved from a juvenile facility temporarily to an adult facility long ago. Perhaps thatI have not been to prison except to visit a loved one moved from a juvenile facility temporarily to an adult facility long ago. Perhaps that is partially why I was so moved by this powerful film. Not for kids or the faint of heart. 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 almostIt'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'sA 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 depictingThe 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.
  7. Feb 13, 2016
    6
    Decent enough British prison drama that falls short of greatness. Tightly scripted, well acted and well directed, it suffers from a real lackDecent enough British prison drama that falls short of greatness. Tightly scripted, well acted and well directed, it suffers from a real lack of emotional depth.
    The main character, although going an emotional change in himself as the film progresses, doesn't engage the audience enough to make them care for him. He's just a really nasty bastard, and ultimately ends up in an 'adult' prison because he's aggressive and violent. The film tries to pitch the idea of a group therapy session allowing him to open up and connect with fellow inmates within that group... But the film makes no effort to explain why only those particular inmates make it into this 'anger management' therapy session, when it seems everyone in the prison suffers from extreme violent tendencies!
    All in all, it's worth watching if you enjoy your films violent, excessively profane, and don't expect too much development through a cohesive narrative and compelling characterisation.
    Expand

See all 14 User Reviews

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