David Mackenzie

HELL OR HIGH WATER Review: Desperate Men In A Desperate Land

A rusted out jalopy rumbles down the deserted side streets of a ghost town, past graffiti decrying a government that bails out banks while leaving nothing for its veterans. Two masked men enter a bank and rob it at gunpoint, a small drop of vengeance against an institution that’s wronged countless others. (more…)

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Starred Up Review

Starred Up (2014)

Dir: David Mackenzie

Prison’s long been a ripe setting for drama and The Prison Movie is a storied genre with many stellar entries. The past few years have seen some standouts from Europe, including the surreal Bronson from Danish auteur Nicolas Winding Refn, and the Godfather-esque Un prophète from French visionary Jacques Audiard. You can now add the incendiary Starred Up to that list, as it’s a first rate masterpiece of the genre that delivers a cracking blow to staid senses.

Jack O’Connell gives a star-making performance as the 19 year old inmate Eric Love who’s been prematurely transferred to adult prison (“starred up” in UK slang) after a string of mostly unnamed offenses. The inhumanity of the intake system of prison is laid out in deliberate detail in the opening scenes as you begin to (more…)