2014 was an amazing year of movies for a number of reasons. There seemed to be more quality films than any other recent year – perhaps since 2007 or even 1999 – and more surprising still was that they weren’t all released in the fall and winter, but rather spread out across a whole year of cinematic richness (for proof check out the Best of Summer 2014 Arthouse and Blockbusters, many of which appear here). (more…)
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…)