Prison is often a compelling setting, whether in brutal thrillers like A Prophet, poignant dramas like The Shawshank Redemption or ensemble comedies such as Netflix’s Orange is the New Black. One of the buzziest films out of the Toronto Film Festival, Starred Up, also takes place behind bars and if early word-of-mouth is any indication, this is a brutal but very worthwhile flick.
Starred Up is the latest film from Scottish director David Mackenzie, the man behind erotic dramas like Young Adam and Perfect Sense, as well as the upcoming thriller The Mission for Warner Bros. This is a very different film for the director though as it focuses on 19-year-old troublemaker Eric (Jack O’Connell), who transfers to a tough maximum security prison and soon becomes the rival to a fierce gang led by Neville (Ben Mendelsohn), who also happens to be Eric’s father. The two men are forced to settle their debts and issues, as Neville tries to help his son battle through his rage and stop making trouble.
Grabbing our attention in this lean, gritty trailer is Ben Mendelsohn. A reliable name for wiry, intense performances in films like Animal Kingdom and The Place Beyond the Pines, the actor looks to be in good form here.
However, most of the buzz surrounding Starred Up is on O’Connell, the 23-year-old English actor who is popular in the U.K. but about to explode on North American screens. He has big roles in 300: Rise of an Empire and the leading part in Unbroken, Angelina Jolie’s adaptation of Laura Hillenbrand’s bestseller that is due out on Christmas Day. Although Starred Up has no North American release date (it hits UK screens on March 21st), O’Connell’s rising stardom could help the film land a distributor soon.
Check out the trailer below and let us know what you think in the comments section below.
Source: The Film Stage