When I first watched this I didn’t know what to fully expect, I knew it was going to be a British drama with some grisly scenes, but what I didn’t see coming was the full force of dark tormented film making with a stark and dangerous edge.
Paddy Constantine stars as Richard, a troubled veteran who’s returned to seek out the truth about his mentally vulnerable brother Anthony (Toby Kebbell) death, upon a little bit of investigating he soon realises that a group of low lives were befriending him in order to torment him and he soon lavishes them with his own brand of deep psychological torture and a icy revenge.
Shane Meadows is one of many directors who were influenced by the old skin culture, nothing of the racist variety but just that fringe of society that often got infiltrated by “wrongens” and the plebs featured in this movie are all too familiar. One of the striking features of this movie is just how “real” it all seems. Filmed like a documentary and seeming to have an ad libbed script, there is a freedom for the actors and the mistakes and timing just add to the power that it delivers.
The gang of slim misfits, headed by Sonny (Gary Stretch) are not prepared for the level of hell that is about to be unleashed on them, Richard slowly stalks and humiliates them, even in their futile attempts to attack him, they are so blundering they end up doing themselves damage, eventually it all results in a huge twisting end but it’s not after a nail biting blood bath as the men soon learn to live in abject fear after Richard’s arrival.
A bitter and dark revenge thriller that’s not afraid to present the questionable rawness of what a twisted man is prepared to do for his blood.
Filled with gut and heart wrenching scenes, Constantine proves himself in, possibly his best role, with tension filled stand offs and switching to showing the most amazing tender scenes when he’s dealing with his brother, who is equally convincing in his portrayal.
Dead Man’s Shoes, for me is brilliant, I was a bit miffed with the end but it’s a solid fitting ending for a tale of this type of deadly revenge. Shane shows a more seedy side than in his other films but I have to admit that it has more ties with Tyrannosaur (2011) for my liking, with a large dose of black humor which is often glazed over just due to the horrific scene the came before or that it leads into, this film is surprisings funny, graphically horrific and thought provoking.
full review and a lot more post discussion to come..