“It’s been a long time (long time), we shouldn’t of left you (left you),
Without a dope beat to step to (step to, step to, step to, step to).”
– “Try Again” lyrics
We know it’s been a while since the last Films With Friend, but Strange Angel kept us a little preoccupied. However, while we keep our fingers crossed that we get to see our dearly beloved in a second season, let us keep each other company with our next film – Starred Up.
Starred Up (2013) is not just about the horrors and inhumanity of prison. It’s also the tale of two men – father (Nevill Love portrayed by Ben Mendelsohn) and teenaged son (Eric Love portrayed by Jack O’Connell) – on a similarly violent path in life. The two have been estranged since Eric was five years old, but their paths converge when Eric becomes so violent, he is “starred up” and prematurely transferred into the adult prison where his father is incarcerated and wields much influence. In prison, Eric is enrolled into group therapy led by a volunteer psychotherapist, Oliver Baumer (Rupert Friend).
The film is directed by David Mackenzie and written by Jonathan Asser, psychotherapist and screenwriter. It was nominated for 12 different awards and won for Best Supporting Actor (Ben Mendelsohn) at the 2013 British Independent Film Awards, Best Actor (Jack O’Connell) at the 2014 Dublin International Film Festival, and Best British Newcomer (Jonathan Asser) at the 2014 London Film Festival.
O’Connell and Mendelsohn received many glowing reviews for their performances, and indeed, I truly enjoyed all of the performances in this film. My heart literally pounded all the way through. But since our interest here focuses on Rupert, I’ll leave you with a particularly lovely mention:
“His onscreen alter ego is Oliver, a terrifically edgy performance from Rupert Friend, whose angular body language speaks volumes, and whose reasons for placing himself in the line of fire are rooted in neatly unspecified personal trauma.”(x)
This is a fantastic, super intense film.
Watch with subtitles if you can — the accents are sometimes hard to understand.