It seems almost pointless to add to the numerous reviews of this DVD, the majority of which are, quite rightly, gushing in their praise of Shane Meadows' fourth - and best - picture about a brother taking revenge on a gang of small-town lowlifes. But the quality of Dead Man's Shoes cannot be over-stated, and personally I found this to be one of the most moving and impressive feature films of recent years and as such feel compelled to recommend it further.
Paddy Considine, recently seen in Simon Pegg's comedy cop caper, 'Hot Fuzz', plays Richard - a former soldier who returns to his sleepy hometown in the Midlands with his younger brother Anthony (Toby Kebbel) in tow. The pair are on foot, and the reasons for their return are initially unclear. However, what quickly becomes apparent is the fact that Anthony is mildly mentally disabled; he is also extremely uncomfortable at being back in town. Fortunately, the steel-nerved Richard is more than willing to act on his brother's behalf...
The way the tale is told is superb - black and white flash-backs depicting the fateful events leading to Richard's vengeful and violent actions are interspersed with the often comical exchanges between the would-be victims. Considine's performance is colossal: Richard is possessed of a spine-chilling calm and a singularity of purpose that evokes awe and admiration in equal measure. Kebbel, meanwhile, is perfectly cast in his role - capable as he is of portraying Anthony with a sympathetic but wonderfully understated charm.
This film strikes the perfect balance between fantasy and reality; it is dark and psychological, visceral and violent and it moved me to tears on more than one occasion. However, it also made me laugh uproariously - I mean, really, what more could you ask for?