The International Writers
Mans Shoes (2004)
Director: Shane Meadows/writers; Shane Meadows and Paddy Considine
Bullying, Violence and Revenge are the three main aspects
of British culture which Shane Meadows carefully combines in a
disturbingly naturalistic way.
British director and writer, Shane Meadows, has once again proved
his talent within the contemporary film world. Following on from
small hits such as, A Room for Romeo Brass (1999) and Once
Upon a Time in the Midlands, Meadows has cast more light
onto the underworld of northern life. His portrayal of grime and
violence within northern society is ever more present in his latest
His films often
portray the gritty, honest and in this case disturbing lives of the
British culture and class. Dead Mans Shoes is one of the most,
gripping and powerful films I have seen in a long time, and tackles
with deep emotion the consequences of intense mental torment and physical
The film begins by showing the local gangs befriending the boy, they
begin to use him as their drug deliverer and eventually he earns their
respect, but respect turns to torment, and we see shots of the boy being
forced to have sex with a girl, an experience which he cannot comprehend
and understand, but to the amusement of the gang.
The drug scenes are some of the most realistic I have ever seen, which
adds to the authenticity and relevance of todays drug scene and
culture.Throughout the first scenes he is subjected to the most cruel
and vile forms of bullying, and it was hard to carry on watching the
film in all honesty. You start to realise that this cannot be the end
for him, revenge is waiting nearby, and with catastrophic consequences.
the disgust and horror of his older brother, he returns having left
the Army, filled with immense revenge and hatred. He goes back to
the village to get his revenge on the gang that preyed on his brother,
singling them out, one by one. The actor who plays his older brother,
Paddy Considine, who is a regular in Meadows films, portrays
a controlled violent man who carefully plans acts of revenge, carrying
them out simultaneously, but with hidden warnings painted in the
victims blood at each murder scene.
The last act of
revenge is the most thought provoking of them all, a cocktail of drugs
and haluciagenics take the last leading member of the gang on a Trip
he will never forget!
The soundtrack cleverly takes us through each scene, and just like most
of his films, the soundtrack has been carefully considered, wonderful
songs used with impeccable timing create a distinct mood and atmosphere.
Throughout the film there are constant flashbacks and reminders of some
of the most disturbing acts of mental and physical abuse, some scenes
are extremely difficult to come to terms with but this is what I like
about the film, it is powerful and is very real. It makes you think
deep into the heart of the main characters.
It is a very, very dark film indeed but Meadows has a knack of combining
sadness and humour, to ensure his work is never too dull or depressing.
The relationship between the older brother and the gang is distant,
but is cleverly built up to a climax towards the end. The two main characters
performances are harrowingly realistic and convincing. The story also
brings out a deep dark side to the meaning of the word Bullying
and enables us to take a look at the horrific consequences of torment.
The main character that plays the eldest of the brothers, Paddy Considine,
who has also featured in previous Shane Meadows films, won an British
Independent Academy Award for best actor and it has been hailed as Meadows
finest work to date.
In reading a recent article on him, it was evident that Shane Meadows
uses his films to channel some of the guilt he feels now, having being
part of a gang in his early youth. His films may also be a portrait
of his own background and experiences but they do show us an aspect
of our society which is not often portrayed in such detail. It is a
truly British film with a perfectly organised British soundtrack, disturbing,
uncompromising and utterly gripping.
The message is very clear in this film, Revenge is Sweet
© Carly Mclain
misshoney780 at hotmail.com
Carly is about to
graduate from the University of Portsmouth Creative Arts Programme
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