STARRED UP | BLU RAY REVIEW & GIVEAWAY

Finally!! STARRED UP gets its home entertainment release and I finally got to see it – my thoughts pretty much echos Kernel Andrew’s review below. We are revisiting Andrew’s review because it is out on Blu Ray and DVD now and also because the freaking awesome people at Madman have given us copies to giveaway – we have four Blu Rays up for grabs peeps – now beat the crap out of one another to own this – it is a great movie to watch but a romcom it is NOT! STARRED UP is rated R18+ and runs for 106mins. Find out how to win after reading Andrew’s review……..all the best…….JK.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE FROM JULY 7TH, 2014

I am spewing (devvo even) I missed this film, STARRED UP. Kernel Andrew caught it at the Sydney Film Festival and he is a fan, a perfect score fan, for Andrew to hand out a perfect 5 pops it has to be bloody brilliant. I thought I would check it out online and see what Rotten Tomatoes has it at. How does 98% from 43 votes sound, that borders on unheard of and the best part – COOK IS BLOODY BACK BITCHES!!! OK – it is really Jack O’Connell, who became famous for his role as Cook on Skins, the ballsy, “I don’t give a flying fuck” and will fight anything guy. Hell, this could be his sequel from Skins. Madman Entertainment owns the Australian rights to this one but any cinema or home entertainment release is still to be advised. It runs for 106mins and from the footage I have seen I am going with an R18+ rating. 

 

STARRED UP MOVIE POSTER IMAGE
STARRED UP | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | MOVIE POSTER

 

REVIEW BY ANDREW BRUSENTSEV

This, for me, was going to be the highlight of the recent Sydney Film Festival. I had heard reports of its screening earlier in the year and the critical buzz around it was nothing but praise. When I heard that Ben Mendehlson was attached I had to see it. As far as I am concerned Ben Mendehlson may be one of our finest gritty character actors (especially after his incredible performance in Animal Kingdom).

STARRED UP is a powerful and profound movie. It is strange then to find that underneath the heavy punches that the cast and production team are pummelling the viewers with there is also so much here to “entertain” the viewers. The writer, director and the top notch cast do an absolutely perfect job of blending some serious societal issues with absolutely captivating character acting and gripping storytelling.

 

STARRED UP MOVIE IMAGE
STARRED UP | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | ERIC (JACK O’CONNELL) AND FATHER, NEVILLE (BEN MENDELSOHN)

 

Eric (Jack O’Connell from Skins) is a young offender who has served much of his teenage life in juvenile prison. He has been deemed so dangerous that he has been “Starred Up” (prison slang for being moved up into adult prison). When he arrives in his new surroundings, rather than being intimidated, he sets about following the same methods that made him notorious in the juvenile justice system. There is an unexpected surprise install for Eric here though; his father Neville (Ben Mendehlson) is also an inmate in the prison. Neville is a respected seasoned con with real power here. He is a man feared by all. Father and son both cut from the same cloth, so to speak, are not about to have a tearful family reunion in here though. Rather it is the simmering powder keg on which the entire movie sits.

Despite being warned by his father to “keep his head down” Eric will have none of it. He is used to allowing his violent outbursts to control and dominate the situations he is in. This quickly makes him fall foul of some of the other inmates despite repeated warnings from prison officials and his father. All know that this will not end well. But there is a brief small dim light which may see Eric change his ways (so to speak). He is forced to attend (initially) group therapy sessions which are led by an unpaid volunteer Oliver (Rupert Friend). In the safe environment setup by Oliver, Eric is supposed to control his anger by learning to communicate and express his feelings. After initial violent outbursts Eric begins to bond with both Oliver and the other prisoners in the group session. He begins to get something he has never had. Regularity, people he can depend on and friendship. But with his father, the prison system and other inmates moving against him how long will this last?

 

STARRED UP | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | ERIC (JACK O'CONNELL) IN PRISON
STARRED UP | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | ERIC (JACK O’CONNELL) IN PRISON

 

STARRED UP could easily be dismissed as just another gritty, realistic look at the violence inherent in our revolving door prison system. Yes I supposed it does tick those boxes. But there is so much more meat on these bones. The script that Jonathan Asser has created (which reportedly he worked on with actual prisoners in the UK prison system) is captivating. For these reasons it feels authentic and never contrived. In the hands of director David Mackenzie it is given an extra layer of style and finesse. The cinematography of Michael McDonough is enthralling. It captures not only the claustrophobic feeling of being inside a prison cell but also conveys through framing a certain sense of menace which may lie behind the next turn. You are not really sure when violence will erupt, it is in every expression from guard, official and inmate alike. The place reeks of it.

The story whilst on the surface may not offer anything new to say on the prison system; in the minutiae speaks volumes. The intense relationship between father and son is simply riveting to watch. It is nuanced and real. There is not just anger in their exchanges, each scene together runs the gamut. Mendelsohn and O’Connell give the performances of 2014. The other inmates are simply superb (many are actual inmates). The questions about issues of rehabilitating violent offenders are raised time and time again. Can the system the way it is setup ever rehabilitate anybody?

STARRED UP is powerful and completely compelling. A near perfect blend of high entertainment value combined with serious, powerful themes and issues woven throughout.

This movie deserves the highest score possible.

 

KERNEL ANDREW’S POP SCORE:

5 Pops

JK’S POP SCORE:

4 and a Half Pops

 

With special thanks to MADMAN FILMS to win one of the 4X BLU RAYS of STARRED UP you need to either like and share this post on Facebook or retweet/ favourite it on Twitter, you then need to leave a comment below stating the answer to the following question:

Besides SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION what is your favourite PRISON movie and why?  

If you do not have Facebook and Twitter then get with the times old timer haha – You can still enter, leave your entry below and email me at jking@saltypopcorn.com.au telling me you don’t have social media (you still need to enter on the website).

Prizes will no longer be awarded to first in first served. It will now be a game of skill and selected purely on the thoughts of the judges, said judges being the Salty Kernels.

The prizes will be sent after in the next couple of weeks. Good luck! Oh, and minor housekeeping – huge apologies for overseas readers, this competition is only available to Australian residents.