A blend of horror, the supernatural, comedy and social realism. Richard (Paddy Considine) has always protected his simple-minded younger brother, Anthony (Tony Kebbell), but when Richard leaves his rural Midlands' village to join the army, Anthony is taken in by Sonny (Gary Stretch), a vicious local drug dealer, and his gang of thugs. Anthony becomes the gang's pet and it amuses them to bully him and corrupt his innocence. Seven years later Richard returns for revenge.
Harrowing thriller about a hotwired ex-soldier (co-scripter Paddy Considine from Cinderella Man
) who returns to his sleepy Midlands hometown to dole out merciless revenge upon the booze and drug-sodden hoodlums who abused his mentally handicapped younger brother (the astonishing Toby Kebbel). Director Shane Meadows (Once Upon a Time in the Midlands
) doesn't shy away from delivering scenes of gripping suspense and violence, but the end result hews closer to an ambiguous meditation on the nature and effect of vengeance a la Sam Peckinpah's Straw Dogs
than a Death Wish
-style grindhouse effort. Taut and thought-provoking, Dead Man's Shoes
is a must-see for indie film aficionados with a taste for the grittiest of fare. The DVD includes some rollicking commentary by Meadows, Considine, and producer Mark Herbert; an intriguing and heartfelt featurette on Meadows and his own violent past as a teenage skinhead in 1980s England, from which he drew inspiration for this film; and an alternate (and somewhat less satisfying) final scene. -- Paul Gaita