Leaving its keys, wallet and assorted pocket sundries in a tray, stripping down to its birthday suit and submitting to inspection is this new trailer for acclaimed jail drama Starred Up. It's tough, unsparing and powerful stuff. And if you were wondering why director David Mackenzie's film is so titled, it'll help on that count, too.
It's often easy to bundle a new prison flick into a cell marked 'gritty'. The sub-genre's archetypes - the hardcase screw; the shiv-bearing nutjob; the innocent inmate - are well-worn, but early word of mouth (not least from Empire's Toronto Film Festival coverage) has Mackenzie and debut screenwriter Jonathan Asser freshening things up considerably with Starred Up. The 18-rated drama doesn't pull any punches and this new poster also helps give a flavour of its mood.
The film follows angry newbie inmate Eric (a much-raved-about Jack O'Connell) as he finds that being at Her Majesty's pleasure is, well, not all that pleasurable. Prone to lashing out at anyone and everyone, guards and fellow inmates alike, he's soon butting heads with an older lag called Neville (Ben Mendelsohn). The twist? Neville is his Eric's long-estranged dad.
Stepping between the two, in a metaphorical and occasionally physical capacity, is Rupert Friend's prison shrink. He's one of the very few characters to have a stake in stopping this raging bull of a teenager from self-destructing completely.
Starred Up has drawn comparisons with Jacques Audiard's A Prophet. Will it live up to them? Find out when it hits UK cinemas on March 21.
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