It’s a point that we should make clear: prison is hard. Really, really hard. And dangerous and scary and terrible. Now let’s watch a film about it!
British director David Mackenzie (Perfect Sense, Young Adam) is back at it with Starred Up, a prison drama packed to the rafters with talented dudes, including Jack O’Connell, Ben Mendelsohn, and Rupert Friend. The film puts a little twist on the old prison tale, as O’Connell stars as a teenage dirtbag sent to stay at the exact same facility his own criminal dad (Mendelsohn) lives at. (Insert joke about how you thought your family had issues, guffaw, move on.) The tension doesn’t just come from prison love — though, man, there’s plenty of tension to go around there — but when O’Connell’s Eric starts making some changes that will put him on the straight and narrows. Turns out, dear old dad just might not be taking too kindly to said changes. But before Eric mixes things up, yeah, he does some bad stuff. And now we have a clip of some of them!
And, heads up, this lil guy is definitely red-band and very NSFW. There’s blood, okay? Still in? Hit the break.
It may seem difficult to believe that Eric turns things around after this sort of thing, but he does! Really! Thanks to a kindly volunteer psychotherapist (Friend) who takes an interest in helping Eric kick his massive anger issues, it sure looks like things might work out for Eric. Eh, except for his damn dad, who may or may not be interested in seeing his own kin get out of the system. Will there be a big, ultimate battle lurking at the end of Starred Up? Maybe.
You can get a better look at the politics that play out between the three men by checking out the film’s official trailer, which is all about shanking and emotions, two important ingredients in any prison film.
Starred Up hits VOD on August 26th, with a theatrical rollout following immediately after, on August 27th.