“I knew I wanted to make a film that played straight down the bat of realism. Even if there were some poetic moments in there I just wanted to be straight and not messing around with other things,” director David Mackenzie told us earlier this year about his prison drama “Starred Up.” “I was determined to create an environment where I could avoid those things as much as possible. So, we shot the film in a single location, and we shot it sequentially. I had two editors all the time so the idea was to be five hours behind the shoot at all points. So, at the end of each week, because we were shooting sequentially, we could show all of the actors what they had done—those that wanted to. Ben and Rupert didn’t but everyone else did. And then we showed a cut of the film at the wrap party.”
If it sounds like an intense process to make a movie, the results speak for themselves, as the drama—which we called “an instant classic” and featuring rising star Jack O’Connell—is a bracing tale set behind bars, where a father and son are reconciled in the most fraught of circumstances. And as you’ll witness in this scene, the dynamics between prisoners is continually on a high wire with a therapy session that teeters continually on the edge of violence.
“Starred Up” plays the Tribeca Film Festival and will open later this year.