Starred Up (2014)



Critic Consensus: Smart, hard-hitting, and queasily realistic, Starred Up is an instant classic of U.K. prison cinema.

Movie Info

19-year-old Eric (Jack O'Connell, star of the upcoming UNBROKEN), arrogant and ultra-violent, is prematurely transferred to the same adult prison facility as his estranged father (Ben Mendelsohn, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES). As his explosive temper quickly finds him enemies in both prison authorities and fellow inmates - and his already volatile relationship with his father is pushed past breaking point - Eric is approached by a volunteer psychotherapist (Rupert Friend, "Homeland"), who runs an anger … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama
Directed By: ,
Written By: Jonathan Asser
In Theaters:
On DVD: Feb 3, 2015
Box Office: $34.1k
Tribeca Films - Official Site


as Governor Hayes

as Officer Gentry

as Officer Evans

as MacDonald

as Officer White

as Latif-Mubarak

as Officer Hal

as Nurse Bankford

as Officer Self

as Officer Smith

as Officer Johnson

as Officer Corsair

as Governor Cardew

as Officer Edwards

as Officer Henry

as O'Sullivan

as Officer Wilson

as Officer Stokes
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Starred Up

All Critics (101) | Top Critics (20)

Director David Mackenzie has empathy for the characters, but also knows how to ratchet up the tension and make the scene of mayhem pack a wallop.

Full Review… | September 25, 2014
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

[An] unusually cohesive and exciting prison drama ...

Full Review… | September 22, 2014
New Yorker
Top Critic

"Starred Up" manages to be sympathetic, not only because of O'Connell's galvanizing turn, but also Asser and director David Mackenzie's unwavering commitment to portraying his character with as much compassion as brutal honesty.

Full Review… | September 18, 2014
Washington Post
Top Critic

The intention seems to be to create a ferocious film without an iota of fakery...

Full Review… | March 31, 2015
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

This is a gem of a film. O'Connell and Mendelsohn are A+. As strong as a prison film you will see.

February 7, 2015
Dial M For Movies

Starred Up is unflinchingly ferocious and you won't be able to look away.

Full Review… | January 18, 2015
2UE That Movie Show

Audience Reviews for Starred Up

Starred Up is extremely solid. The validity of Jonathan Asser's screenplay comes through in every scene. Not just in handling the atmosphere with sincerity, but for extracting genuine emotion. Ben Mendelsohn and Jack O'Connell are extraordinarily good. Their interaction is infused with subtlety and nuance. As his estranged father, Nev tries to give his son some life lessons to help him from becoming a permanent resident there. It's a real father-son relationship as opposed to a metaphorical one. I haven't seen that before. They act the roles to perfection. I suggest a primer on British prison slang prior to watching, however, starting with that title. Starred up refers to young offenders whose conduct is so violent that they're prematurely transferred from a juvenile institution to an adult one. Gwap is money, prison officers are kangas, and to mug off is to show disrespect. All of this makes the dialogue a little inscrutable, but I wouldn't have it any other way. The authenticity is appreciated and it adds to what makes Starred Up the credible drama that it is.

Mark Hobin

Super Reviewer

Written by an actual therapist following his own experiences, this gripping drama offers an extremely realistic view of prison that makes it feel like watching a documentary, and it is brutal and touching when it needs to be, anchored by superb performances (O'Connell is a revelation).

Carlos Magalh„es

Super Reviewer


absolutely brutal and compelling, finely acted and riveting from start to finish. this was a fantastic film, one of the best prison dramas I've ever seen.

danny d

Super Reviewer

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