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Nil By Mouth [1997] [DVD]

84 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Ray Winstone, Kathy Burke, Charlie Creed-Miles, Laila Morse, Edna Doré
  • Directors: Gary Oldman
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: 19 April 2004
  • Run Time: 112 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001K2KVQ
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,005 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Gary Oldman writes and directs this gritty drama, based in part on his own experience of growing up in London with an alcoholic father. In South London, petty criminal Ray (Ray Winstone) is violent and abusive towards his wife, Valerie (Kathy Burke). After carrying out a scam with Valerie's heroin-addicted brother, Billy (Charlie Creed-Miles), Ray beats him up, convinced that Billy has ripped him off. Valerie confesses to her friends that she would like to leave Ray, but feels that she can't as she has one child already and another on the way. Winner of Best Film BAFTA 1998.

From Amazon.co.uk

Gary Oldman took a break from acting to write and direct this unflinching family drama out of the kitchen-sink British school. Oldman doesn't appear in the film, instead handing the heavy lifting to the remarkable Ray Winstone (Sexy Beast, Cold Mountain) and Kathy Burke, who won a prize at the Cannes Film Festival for her work. The scummy drug trade of lower-class London is Oldman's turf, but he puts special focus on the miserable cycles of violence that fuel a family's struggle within this world. The results are not always easy to watch, but they are devastating (and the final sequence is chilling). Oldman may be guilty of indulging his actors a bit, but it's forgivable, given the big, roaring performances. --Robert Horton

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 47 people found the following review helpful By "rutles_rule" on 24 April 2005
Format: DVD
I was left stunned by the amazing acting within this film. It made me look at Ray Winstone in such a different light. He is now one of my favourite actors.
Heartbreaking in its reality this is not to be watched when you want something easy to watch. You can't help but be engaged to the point of anger and sympathy. This film is relentless.
The actors, especially Winstone and Burke, create such empathy that you can really feel for them. At his worst Winstone's character is repulse and mean. Amazingly, I still felt sorry for him at times. Winstone creates a man who is at odds with his present life and his past childhood. This is a man that understands that he is pulling his life apart, but that he can't help it.
This film has every range of emotion from pain and hatred and the emotions that make us stay with the people we love no matter what. Oldman's created a masterpiece that is undoubtedly owing as much to the cast. This is a hard film to watch but you will be rivited. You will also come through the otherside glade that you did.
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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful By R. Mullaney VINE VOICE on 30 Oct. 2006
Format: DVD
Nil By Mouth is Britains answer to Once Were Warriors. In this film, the brilliant Ray Winstone plays a violent drunk who subjects his wife (Cathy Burke) to some horrendous domestic abuse.

Set in a London Council Estate the film never lets the viewer get comfortable from start to finish. It is a raw, unflinching look at poverty in modern day Britain. It is truly upsetting and difficult to watch but it is also a bold film which everyone should take time to watch. Winstone and Burkes performances are magnificent.

Like This? Try: Once Were Warriors
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By sean paul mccann VINE VOICE on 23 Nov. 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
gary oldman wrote and directed this and its based on his own experiences of growing up in london and if this film is an exact mirror image of his life then its a wonder that oldman is even alive as this is a gritty and demented look at life,family and poverty.

ray winstone stars as a man named raymond who is in a relationship with kathy burke and he treats her like a dog both verbally and physically,they also have a circle of friends who all are victims of the enviroment they live in and there are few here to relate too,but thats the beauty,the film holds back nothing,offers little hope and yet is interesting and is hard to look away even during the most bleak moments,brilliant acting along with a razor sharp script containing more swear words than you would hear in a sailors convention this is excellent film making.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Mr. J. J. Noble on 18 Nov. 2003
Format: VHS Tape
Nil by Mouth would be an important film if only for the fact that it reminded the good British public that Ray Winstone isn't just an asset to a film, but a resource all on his own! However, Gary Oldman's directorial debut is so much more than that - a searing, affecting film that leaves a lasting impression.
Exceptionally foul-mouthed, Nil by Mouth is a slice-of-life drama in the style of Mike Leigh or Alan Clarke (directors Oldman was very familiar with from having worked with them as a young actor); there is no classic Hollywood structure, no safety-net of a clear-plot through which we discover the characters. The cast of this film are never introduced, we are just thrown into the middle of their world and expected to adjust, treat them like people we have known for years. Because of this, the film's tale of domestic violence, alcoholism, heroin abuse and father-son relationship attains the kind of power lacking in most films. It helps that writer-director Oldman is writing about the world in which he grew up, and has populated it with real-looking (read: unattractive) actors.
Winstone is, of course, magnificent in the role of Ray, a marauding south London man on the brink of mental collapse, who takes out his unarticulated frustrations on his helpless wife Valerie, played with equal brilliance by Kathy Burke, who proves that she is far more than just a comic actress. Charlie Creed-Miles, Jamie Foreman and Laila Morse (now on TV as 'Big Mo' in EastEnders) provide sterling support.
It is a difficult film to watch, but not just because of its often-disturbing scenes of domestic violence.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ian Phillips on 19 Aug. 2009
Format: DVD
Nil By Mouth (1997) immediately impresses just upon reading the cast list: the ever-excellent Ray Winstone in one of his finest, most intensifying roles, the wonderful Kathy Burke who yet again proves what a dynamic and versatile actor she is, Edna Dore, Laila Morse (now better known for her role as "old" Mo Slater in the BBC soap EastEnders), Charlie Creed-miles, Jamie Foreman, Chrissie Cotterill, Jon Morrison and Steve Sweeney. Fantastic, flawless cast - and in Ray Winstone and Kathy Burke's case, some of the finest British actors around. And, not forgetting of course, the stunning though brutally stark, compelling and startlingly powerful written screenplay by the critically-acclaimed Gary Oldman.

The story depicts the grim tale of a dysfunctional family living in the South East of London, exploring how some of the characters survive and their decline into drug addiction, alcoholism, domestic violence and petty crime. Never once does Nil By Mouth strike a false chord. Infact you will constantly be on the edge of your seat just by Ray Winstones intensely frightening performance as a hopelessly drug-addicted, alchoholic, wife beater. Due to the stark realism, you feel in each and every scene, as though you are standing right next to these characters, just literally looking on in horror - like watching documentary realism. This is not least due to the extremely high standard of acting, the racing rhythm of the razor-sharp dialogue and Gary Oldman's impeccable direction. On top of that is an effective and somewhat haunting score by Eric Clapton! Perfect in every sense in its intended mood and ethos.
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