söndag 19 oktober 2014

Starred Up

In november last year, i went to Ireland for the first time. Only to Dublin, but still i found myself enjoying the city. Such friendly people, and the whiskey tasted even better, maybe because i had more than i usually do. I remember on a double decker bus, we went on to hear the history of Dublin, that there was a hospital for mental patients who had some of the worst kinds of humans. Murderers, pedophiles, rapists and many more. This hospital closed many years ago, so this was just a historical building now. Still, i felt interested in knowing more about a place like this. It is hard to imagine what people who worked there must have gone through, with so many insane people locked up. I like to watch channels like Tv4 Fakta, Discovery Channel, and find prison documentaries interesting. You get a glimpse on how evil some people are, who murdered their own family members, maybe molested someone, or abused their partner. Prisons all over the world are really full of criminals, and there are not enough rooms to fill all the new coming criminals. You would think that they should decide to build more prisons, but i would understand that it is a money issue, it costs to build. In motion pictures we have seen plenty of prison films, maybe you remember Clint Eastwood in Escape From Alcatraz, or perhaps the masterpiece The Shawshank Redemption ? Starred Up is an irish/scotish drama film, about prison life and the convicts. Director David McKenzie have never done a film in this genre before, so i were curious to see if he could pull this off, after some good films from his past. Lead actor Jack O´Connell did a really fantastic performance in the British horror thriller Eden Lake in 2008. If you have not seen that one, rent it. This is a really good chiller. Starred Up have been praised at film festivals around Europe, and even won some awards. Is this a new classic in the prison motion picture genre, or a prison drama that don´t leave much to hope for ?

Eric Love ( Jack O´Connell arrives to serve his time in prison. He begins to adjust into his new life and try and stay focused. After a violent incident, Eric is taken to the therapist Oliver (Rupert Friend), who will try and help him with his temper. But Oliver realise this will take some time, since Eric is not in control with anything.  Older prisoner Neville Love ( Ben Mendelsohn ) is Eric´s father, who were never around when Eric grew up. Here in prison, he tries to look after his son, but also make sure he behaves himself. Each day that goes by, Eric seem to have issues with other prisoners, where some of these moments go out of control. Oliver begin to take Eric into group sessions, in hope to make him more focused to become a better person. The question is, will this help at all or is Eric all out of hope ?

Before i watched Starred Up at the swedish cinema premiere week, i heard swedish film critic Ronny Svensson talk about the film on his review segment on Tv4. I understood he really liked this film, for such a powerful message about men in prison. After watching Starred Up i realise how brutal life must be behind bars in different prisons. If you don´t learn how to survive, you could be killed pretty easy, and no one would care. Starred Up is a brutal prison drama, with very powerful performances of british quality actors. Lead actor Jack O´Connell is absolutely briliant as the young cocky Eric Love, a man with anger issues and have no respect for other people. When he begins his temper, you can feel the anger, and this shows what a talented actor Jack O´Connell is. Another actor who does a really good performance is Ben Mendelsohn as Eric´s father. Once he get his temper out, you can see why his son is as angry as he is. Director David MacKenzie have directed many different motion pictures in the past, one of my personal favourite films he directed is Young Adam, with Evan McGregor. I would like to point out that even if MacKenzie have made some good films over the years, none of them are as good as Starred Up. This is an honest look behind prison life, where you never know what is going to happen. There is plenty of violence and bad language, but that is a part of prison life, so it is necessary to be in this enviroment. Since David McKenzie have worked in prison many years ago, before he became a film director, it is easy to understand he must have known how the system works behind bars. And he manage to capture that image well, with such a brutal portrait. Starred Up is the best prison drama for many years, not as good as The Shawshank Redemption, but still i recommend you have to see this one. This is a drama film that will affect you, and let you decide if the prison system is working as it should be. Starred Up delivers, and hit you hard in your face.

Rating: DDDD

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