Extra Cinema: Starred Up (18)

Jack O Connell playing Eric and Ben Mendelsohn playing Neville.
Jack O Connell playing Eric and Ben Mendelsohn playing Neville.

Starring: Jack O’Connell, Ben Mendelsohn

Director: David Mackenzie

The sins of a jailbird father are revisited upon an embittered son in David Mackenzie’s gritty drama.

Nineteen-year-old repeat offender Eric (Jack O’Connell) swaggers into his first adult prison as if he owns the joint.

Clothed in a regulation grey tracksuit, Eric is escorted to his cell where he expertly constructs then conceals a shank.

An altercation with prison guards leads to a spell in solitary confinement and Eric is ushered before lifer Spencer (Peter Ferdinando), who rules the roost.

It transpires that Eric’s father Neville (Ben Mendelsohn) is at the same facility and operates as one of Spencer’s underlings.

Their reunion after 14 miserable years of estrangement is far from happy.

While Eric exorcises ghosts of the past, the lad also attends anger management sessions led by a volunteer called Oliver (Rupert Friend), whose personal involvement with inmates is a source of frustration for sadistic governor Hayes (Sam Spruell).

Rating: 6/10