Tuesday, September 22, 2009

#462: Dead Man's Shoes (2004)

Director: Shane Meadows
Cast: Paddy Considine, Toby Kebbell, Paul Hurtsfield & Gary Stretch

When a criminal enters a pub, Anthony whispers to his brother Richard, "that's one of them." Richard glares at the man, and when he the criminal asks what Richard is looking at, he lashes out "you, you cunt!". The criminal leaves the pub, but meets Richard later, who apologizes for his behavior. The criminal quickly accepts the apology and runs away to tell his friends that Anthony's brother is back. Through a series of flashbacks, we witness the abuse Anthony - who is developmentally disabled - took while Richard was away. Richard is now out for revenge, taking out the gang of criminals one at a time.

Despite its simple and arguable overdone plot, this film is extremely well done. Credit can be given to this movie for filming England without Hollywoodizing it. The men live in a small town of dirty brick buildings with extremely ordinary characters living there. Guns are not used in the film, which is a much truer look at England's gang life.

The soundtrack is notable in this film for the atmosphere it provides. It almost makes Richard's plot for revenge seem dreamlike, giving Richard more of an 'Angel of Death' feel to him.

The acting is also quite good. The only character that I thought was a bit overdone, sadly, was Anthony. It may have been a better performance if I hadn't recognized the actor, Toby Kebbell, whose career launched after the release of this film. Since, he has appeared in Alexander, RocknRolla, The German and Chéri.

Two thumbs up for giving a moving performance without any crazy special effects.

Fun Trivia (Stolen from IMDB):
When Richard breaks into the flat he spray paints "Cheyne Stoking" on the wall. In very sick patients, this is the name of the breathing pattern that is a sign of impending death.
Toby Kebbell was cast only one day before filming started.
The end credits state the message "In memory of Martin Joseph Considine", this isPaddy Considine's father. Just before Martin died, he kept saying he wanted Paddy to work with Shane Meadows again.

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