Archive of films Starred Up / Starred Up

United Kingdom
2013, 106 min

Section: Horizons
Year: 2014

Eric is moved to an adult prison and immediately prepares for battle. The resident kingpin entrusts one of the more experienced inmates, Nev, to watch over him. Nev is Eric’s dad. This psychological film, focusing on the relationship between father and son, is outstanding for its compelling, authentic lensing, leaving the viewer little time to draw breath as it conveys a rawness reminiscent of Jacques Audiard’s A Prophet.


When Eric is prematurely moved to an adult prison, he immediately starts preparing for the worst, ready to do battle. After he attacks a warden, the prison kingpin assigns one of the older inmates, Nev, to watch over him. Nev is Eric’s father. Eric, who grew up in a children’s home and has seen nothing but a life of violence, threatens the precise workings of the prison community, wantonly violating its rules. Eric then enters an entirely new world when loner Oliver brings him into his therapy group. The young man discovers that not only is it possible to control his anger and aggression, but also to put his trust in others. The opportunity for change brings hope, but may mean danger for Nev. This psychologically sophisticated film is sustained by a superb cast and an outstanding script which harks back to the Classical tragedy. The camera’s authentic lens explores the claustrophobic prison interiors, inhibiting the viewer from drawing breath. Culminating in a stirring, dramatic finale of raw urgency, the piece is reminiscent of Audiard’s award-winning A Prophet.

About the director

David Mackenzie

David Mackenzie (b. 1966, Corbridge, United Kingdom) studied at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee, Scotland. He moves easily between different film genres: after a series of award-winning shorts he debuted with the feature The Last Great Wilderness (2002), which was followed by a successful adaptation of Alexander Trocchi’s novel Young Adam (2003), premiered at the Cannes IFF. Back home, the film won four Scottish BAFTAs. Then came the films Asylum (2005), Hallam Foe (2007), which garnered a Silver Bear at the Berlinale, Spread (2009), presented at Sundance, the futuristic tale Perfect Sense, shown at the same festival two years later, the rock fest comedy romance You Instead (2011), and Starred Up, which screened at last year’s Toronto IFF.


32 Tavistock St., WC2E 7PB, London
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 207 257 8734
Fax: +44 207 240 9029
E-mail: [email protected]

About the film

Color, DCP

Section: Horizons
Director: David Mackenzie
Screenplay: Jonathan Asser
Dir. of Photography: Michael McDonough
Editor: Jake Roberts, Nick Emerson
Producer: Gillian Berrie
Production: Sigma Films
Cast: Jack O’Connell, Ben Mendelsohn, Rupert Friend
Contact: Independent


David Mackenzie

Film Director


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