DEAD MAN'S SHOES, the latest collaboration between director Shane Meadows
and actor Paddy Considine, is essentially a drama about revenge. What makes it
intriguing and eminently watchable is Considine's deft almost low-key portrayal of
what is essentially an avenging angel.
The film alternates between contemporary shots in color and flashbacks filmed
in murky black-and-white. In those flashbacks that come at key moments in the action,
the audience is given snippets of information about the extent to which mentally-
challenged Anthony (Toby Kebbell) is abused by a gang of drug dealers led by
Sonny (Gary Stretch). At first, the group use Anthony to run errands like buying
groceries, but gradually they turn him onto drugs, introduce him to sex, and
occasionally use him as a punching bag.
His older brother Richard (Considine, who co-wrote the screenplay with Meadows
and Paul Fraser) had been serving in the army, partly as a means to escape from having
to care for his brother. Now home, he is aware of what was perpetrated on his sibling
and he sets out to make the men pay for their behavior. That in a nutshell is the plot.
Meadows skillfully keeps the action interesting and adds an intriguing twist that in
retrospect I felt I should have caught but didn't.
Considine, whose debuted in Meadows' A ROOM FOR ROMEO BRASS and
who has since gone on to deliver memorable work in films like IN AMERICA and
MY SUMMER OF LOVE, delivers a pitch-perfect performance as Richard.
At first his motivations seem crystal clear, but as the story unfolds, the audience
learns the extent of guilt he harbors over the treatment received by Anthony.
Kebbell, who resembles Considine that they could be brothers, is excellent
as the mentally-challenged youth. There's also strong support from Stretch, Neil
Bell, Paul Sadot, Paul Hurstfield, and Stuart Wolfenden as the objects of
MPAA Rating: NONE
Running time: 90 mins.
Viewed at Magno Review One
|Dead Man's Shoes
|© 2006 by C. E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.