|O'Connell and Mendelsohn gives two of the year's best performances.|
Directed by David Mackenzie
Produced by Gillian Berrie
Written by Jonathan Asser
Starring Jack O'Connell, Ben Mendelsohn and Rupert Friend
David Mackenzie has made a small but powerful film. Eric Love (O'Connell) is a damaged teenager, whose violent behavior has landed him in prison. When he arrives at a new facility, his father Neville (Mendelsohn), a fellow inmate, makes Eric go to group therapy. The sessions are run by Oliver Baumer (Friend), a privileged man who volunteers his time. During the course of Eric's treatment, the three men butt heads. Though, the most challenging relationship is between Eric and Neville, as the son can only get better with the help of his father. In the end, violence just might bring them together.
This British indie is the finest prison movie since Jacques Audiard's A Prophet. No easy task, but it's filled with gritty performances, arresting visuals and compelling drama. O'Connell gives an unwavering performance that offers complexity with a raw authenticity. He completely disappears into the character, not unlike other recent breakout performances from Martin Compston in Sweet Sixteen and Jack Reynor in What Richard Did. Mendelsohn more than handles his own, stealing almost every scene in which he appears. Friend also delivers solid work, as do the actors playing the fellow inmates. Though the performances make this film shine, O'Connell's turn is electric, and will likely be overshadowed by Angelina Jolie's upcoming film Unbroken. Still, this is a great little prison movie with performances to be relished.
Oscar Potential: None