Violent and unforgiving as it maybe, it’s hard to look away from director David Mackenzie’s unflinching story of a juvenile’s descent to the gratuitous cage of older convicts. Brilliantly filmed and one of the finest in its genre, STARRED UP is a no holds barred prison drama anchored heavily on the revelatory Jack O’Connell as Eric Love who unleashes his inner animal, more savage and scarred, yet most importantly, raw of the potential to redeem himself from the society who doesn’t believe it possible. Eric’s erstwhile guardians are also haunted of their own personal demons; Ben Mendelsohn and Rupert Friend fills complicated layers of humanity in their troubled characters. STARRED UP does not take pleasure in its brutality, nor preaches of the consequences of serving in prison. Rather, it powerfully delivers a sore reality not often seen onscreen.
Hot on the heels of Liam Neeson‘s late resurgence as an action star, NON-STOP takes off in a tense premise that takes claustrophobia to the highest, inescapable altitude. A (surprising) ensemble cast had a promise of a sophisticated thriller but were surprisingly miserably written and confined as plot devices. The narrative turbulence happens at the end of the film and NON-STOP lands preposterously because of its final reveal. At least the cast looked like they enjoyed the ride and the movie was entertaining despite its misgivings. But the viewing seat belt is still fastened on what the hijacking film could have been for the better.