In the language of Britain’s penal system, “starred up” is the term used for a young offender who gets prematurely moved to an adult prison. Designated “single cell, high risk,” 19-year-old Eric Love (Jack O’Connell) certainly looks like he’s ready for the big time. When the officers strip search him on arrival at his new digs, he goes through the drill with calm insouciance. On entering his cell, he immediately fashions a shank from a toothbrush and disposable razor, and conceals it in a light fixture.
Eric’s faculty for violence is certainly impressive. After beating another inmate unconscious over a simple misunderstanding, he prepares to tackle a group of armored guards by smothering himself in baby oil to make his body harder to grab. The altercation ends with him in handcuffs and on his knees, his teeth clamped around an officer’s private parts. Nice negotiating tactic, that.