Dead Man’s Shoes (2004) – Shane Meadows

Director Shane Meadows and star Paddy Considine wrote this script together that is the last recommendation from the Great Movies – 100 Years of Film book following my screening of Point Blank.

Considine is Richard, a soldier returning to his home town. But this homecoming isn’t one of joy, it is with a singular purpose. His mentally challenged brother, Anthony (Toby Kebbell) suffered indignities at the hands of the local criminals, and Richard is about to deliver payback.

Despite an unsurprising reveal about three-quarters of the way through the movie, this film is fantastic. It’s dark, brutal, and Considine plays Richard to the hilt. It starts out simply enough as he faces the baddies down, but very quickly things escalate to brutal violence as he starts to kill one man after another.

Despite the brutality and the violence, it’s not often shown, instead the results are revealed, but that doesn’t change how chilling some of the moments are.

The film was shot over the course of three weeks, and does have an indie feel to it, but in a completely complimentary way – it’s gritty and isn’t afraid to go to dark places.

deadman

For those viewers who are only familiar with Considine through his work with Edgar Wright in the Cornetto Trilogy this one may come as a bit of a surprise, but for fans of the actor, it’s great to see him let loose in this manner, and show the things he’s capable of as an actor.

This is yet another film I am sad to admit I had never heard of, but would have devoured when it first came out if I had. It’s incredibly well put together, it looks great, and all the talents involved obviously wanted to be involved in the project.

The events that Anthony goes through, that push Richard to his breaking point and beyond are shot in black and white, the grainy images frightening and heart-breaking. Watching them, you know you want to see Richard take down every one of the bastards that caused Anthony problems.

But by doing that, does Richard then become the villain? Or is it simply revenge?

These are questions that we are left with as the film comes to its close, and I love that the film put those thoughts out there. It’s easy to walk away from a movie like this, or any in the revenge thriller genre and talk about how the villains got what they deserved, but what of the effect and changes it affects on the (anti)hero?

I greatly enjoyed this one, and see watching it again sometime in the near future.

paddy

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