4 items from 2014
Jack O'Connell gives an electrifying performance as a violent teenager forced to confront parental authority in prison
When inspirational director Alan Clarke cooked up an authentic television portrait of incarcerated British youth in the late 1970s, the resultant film was so alarming that it was promptly banned by the BBC. Clarke subsequently remade Scum for the cinema, and both the small- and big-screen versions of his most notorious work have since cast long shadows over their respective mediums. Plaudits, then, to David Mackenzie for fashioning a tough but empathetic (if uneven) prison drama which marks out its own territory in an arena in which Clarke's epochal work is still the daddy, even now.
Shot (but not set) in Northern Ireland on a tight schedule and even tighter budget, this eye-catching and frequently pulse-pounding drama finds high-risk young offender Eric (Jack O'Connell) being moved up to an adult prison where he »
- Mark Kermode
Former prison psychotherapist Jonathan Asser's debut screenplay takes an uncompromising look at the violence that underpins life behind bars in this brutal, macho drama
The title of this brutal, violent and very macho prison movie from director David Mackenzie means "transferred prematurely from juvenile detention to adult jail". The film's press pack came with a glossary explaining to reviewers some of the other code-words: "kanga" meaning officer; "tech" meaning mobile phone; "kick off back door" meaning anal sex, and "straightener", meaning pre-planned fight. For me, this last word has a certain kind of sad irony and prose-poetry. It is the debut screenplay from Jonathan Asser, a psychotherapist who has experience treating long-term prisoners with anger-management issues. That phrase itself is perhaps a kind of official code, which looks increasingly euphemistic as the film progresses.
Jack O'Connell is Eric, a 19-year-old who has been starred up, upgraded to adult prison »
- Peter Bradshaw
Mobsters, mafioso, hoodlums, gang-bangers, capos, love, betrayal, drugs, murder and money; it is all here. The very fact that organised crime has its own genre is a testament to how loved Gangster films are.
The fascination with a world that is beyond comprehension for most that watch, is something that has always been apparent in the cinematic world and thankfully it has always been brimming with incredible films to compliment the obsession.
Here, compiled for your humble discretion (with Huge spoilers), is an attempted order of the iconic moments from the very best the movie world has to offer when it comes to Gangster movies…
20. Yes, Yes, Yes! – Sexy Beast (2000)
Brutal Gangster boss Teddy Bass (McShane) sends Don Logan (Ben Kingsley) to persuade retired Gal Dove (Ray Winstone) into one last job, and hilarity ensues! In all seriousness, this film is a joy to watch, with »
- Shaun Lappin
A visceral, swaggering performance in the prison drama is set to help propel the former Skins star to stardom. He reveals why 2014 is lining up to be his big year – and why he's ready for it
Jack O'Connell is not pissing about. These are his words. He has just put in the performance of his career in prison drama Starred Up, he's shooting Angelina Jolie's Unbroken – an account of the life of Olympic runner and second-world-war hero Louis Zamperini – in which he again takes the lead, and he's about to tackle a blockbuster with Zack Snyder in 300: Rise of an Empire. He has been acting for 10 years. He's done with partying – he's ready to justify himself. He's intense and focused, older and wiser than the kid who came up through the ranks of the E4 teen drama Skins. He's 23 years old.
I meet O'Connell at the tail end »
- Henry Barnes
4 items from 2014
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