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FILM REVIEW: STARRED UP (18)

Skins star Jack O’Connell shows what an outstanding actor he is in this gritty British prison drama.

Peterborough actor, Luke Pasqualino, has come a long way since starring in the popular television show Skins. His co-star, Jack O’Connell, looks destined for bigger things too based on his brutal yet brilliant performance in Starred Up.

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O’Connell plays 19 year-old Eric Love, an excessively violent criminal transferred from a young offenders institute to an adult prison. Within seconds of being in his cell, Eric skilfully uses his lighter to melt a toothbrush and sticks a razor blade to the end of it. He also creates a home-made screwdriver to hide the weapon. Straight away, as an audience we know that we’re watching a character who is very smart but troubled – and a force to be reckoned with.

The story comes from Jonathan Asser, a first-time screenwriter who’s used his experiences as a prison psychologist for material. It’s therefore no wonder that a prison psychologist features in the film. The eccentric therapist is determined to help Eric change his ways, assisted by one of the prison’s most dangerous inmates, Neville, who just so happens to be Eric’s father.

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For those wanting to watch an action-packed prison movie – featuring explosive breakouts and riots… this is not the film for you. Starred Up is actually a surprisingly poignant father-son drama. It’s violent and entertaining, but not as fast paced as the trailer would imply – which is in no way a negative comment; I just want you to know what you’re letting yourselves in for.

Starred Up provides almost every cliché in the prison drama genre, but thanks to O’Connell’s unique and mesmerising performance, they’re hardly noticeable. This is worth seeing for him alone!

See Starred Up (and much more) now at Showcase, Peterborough. For show times visit www.showcasecinemas.co.uk and follow them on Twitter.

Mikey Clarke

Genre: Drama

Cast: Jack O’Connell, Ben Mendelsohn & Rupert Friend

Running Time: 1hr 40mins

Director: David Mackenzie

See it if you liked: Scum & Chopper

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