Dead Man's Shoes

Dead Man's Shoes

****

Reviewed by: David Stanners

Get Carter set the bar 33 years ago as the ultimate in brother revenge sagas, where honourable intentions are carried out with extreme measures of violence. Shane Meadows, with his latest opus, has muscled into the heavyweight division of the genre with a highly unnerving tale of justice and revenge.

Richard (Paddy Considine) is a soldier back in town to settle a score. Several years earlier, his mentally disabled younger brother Anthony (Toby Kebbell) was unwittingly put at the mercy of a bunch of local potheads and thugs, who, for a few cheap thrills, used him as the butt of sick party jokes.

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Starting off quietly, Richard taunts, stares and occasionally explodes in short verbal assaults. One night, after a big substance abuse session with his layabout muckers, Herbie (Stuart Wolfenden) leaves the flat only to be met by a solitary figure in a boiler suit and white gas mask. Scared out his wits, he gathers his mates outside ready to pounce, but by that time Richard in his eerie outfit has been into their flat and redecorated the interior with spray painted threats.

There is a hint of Michael Myers about Richard in his suit. Not only frightening to look at, his eyes mean business. With all the skill and calculation of a chess grand master, he orchestrates every move before eliminating obstacles in his way. To say too much would be to spoil the occasion, but there are twists, turns and horrific blood curdling scenes of carnage.

Considine carries the film. Capricious yet systematic, brutal yet moral, he plays a complex character with a single mission in mind.

Told through a series of flashbacks, Anthony's ordeal is eventually made clear and the motivations for Richard's venomous acts of revenge become more understandable. This is the film's strength, the slow unravelling of past events crossing the path of the present.

The violence is heavy going and the atmosphere constantly fraught with a growing sense of foreboding. Meadows has utilized his storytelling to its full potential, challenging our moral perceptions, as well as making a pretty decent thriller while he's at it.

Reviewed on: 25 Aug 2004
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Dead Man's Shoes packshot
An ex-army man strolls into town, seeking revenge on his disabled brother's assailants.
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Read more Dead Man's Shoes reviews:

Jennie Kermode ***1/2

Director: Shane Meadows

Writer: Paddy Considine, Paul Fraser

Starring: Paddy Considine, Toby Kebbell, Gary Stretch, Jo Hartley, Seamus O'Neill, Stuart Wolfenden, Paul Hurstfield, Emily Aston, George Newton, Craig Considine, Paul Sadot

Year: 2004

Runtime: 86 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: UK

Festivals:

EIFF 2004

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A Better Tomorrow
Get Carter
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