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4.5 out of 5 stars
A Room for Romeo Brass [DVD] [2000]
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I have to admit I groaned a little when I opened the latest `LoveFilm' envelope to find yet another of my girlfriend's favoured indie comedy/drama offerings sitting there instead of one of my preferred Hollywood blockbuster shoot-em-ups. I took a deep breath and steeled myself for what I thought would be a few hours of mind-numbingly tedious British grittiness. However, I was totally captivated and drawn into this remarkable bit of story telling. I hate to say it, but more often than not her choices turn out to be really great films, perhaps I should start to listen to her more often!

The film centres around two twelve year olds living somewhere in the midlands in the late eighties/early nineties, and their friendship. When Romeo and Knocks meet Morell things start to change as the older boy forms an almost sinister relationship with Romeo and an obsession with Romeo's sister. Romeo has the added complication of his ne'er-do-well father recently reappearing in his life, and Knocks' hospitalisation for a major operation.

This is an excellent character study piece, filled with plenty of humour (mainly from Paddy Considine's marvellous turn as the somewhat creepy Morell). It is a tale of friendship, obsession, and a well observed slice of life. While centring on the characters of Romeo and Morell, there is also plenty of time to explore other characters, and I garuantee you will not fail to be astounded and moved by the character of Knock's Dad in the final few minutes of the film.

With a well chosen set of characters that I could really relate to, an excellent script with believable dialogue and an excellent cast, especially the two kids and Paddy Considine and some great directorial touches from Shane Meadows I found this to be a great film. It's got a killer soundtrack as well, which is well worth seeking out. It's a well chosen mix of tracks that set the mood perfectly. From the opening beats of Message to you, Rudy it goes on to mix Donovan with JJ Cale, Ian Brown, Fairport Convention, Billy Bragg and Stone Roses. Anyone who can make such an eclectic mix of artists work as a soundtrack is a genius in my book!
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 4 January 2001
Shane Meadows follow-up to Twenty Four Seven is one of the best films i have ever seen. At the start it is hilarious in places, which draws you into a particular mood, and then it hits you as it suddenly turns black and bleak when you are least expecting it. It is both funny and disturbing and plays with your emotions to such an extent that you are not sure whether to laugh or hide your eyes in places. An incredibly thought provoking film.
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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on 27 April 2006
I watched this film having high hopes because I had already watched the fantastic "Dead Mans Shoes" and I was definitely not disappointed.

Shane Meadows is at his directorial best here, and Paddy Considine shows exactly why he is on his way to bigger and better things with his portrayal of the older kid down the street Morrell. He leaves you feeling both pity and hatred for him in equal measures (yet I was still left feeling surprised by his almost evil side near the end.

Other wonderful performances here include those of Gavin (Ben Marshall) and Romeo (Andrew Shim). Surprising grown up, funny and touching performances from a couple of very young actors with a great future ahead of them.

James Higgins and Frank Harper were both worth the price of the DVD alone with their wonderfully contrasting performances as the two lads dads. The both of them manage to make us change our views of the characters by the end of the film.

Finally, I was pleasantly surprised to see a fleeting, yet memorable cameo from Bob Hoskins as Gavins tutor Steven Laws. Though he is barely on the screen he manages to portray a surprising and vivid performance that certainly proved to me that there is more to Bob Hoskins than the stock characters that we are used to from him.

Overall I was extremely pleaded by this film. Though it was by no means as dark as "Dead Mans Shoes" it was every bit as witty and frightening with enough one liners to keep you going forever.

This may be a massive cliche, but I think I can safely say, that Meadows and Considine are the British Scorsese and De Niro. Nuff said.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
When you watch a Shane Meadows film you expect natural performances and housing estate based drama - and it's all here in a fantastically realistic package.

This film is essentially the story of Romeo and Gavin, two schoolboy friends whose friendship is threatened when a third member joins the tight group. The 'third member'; Morell, a twenty-something man seems like a nice-enough guy though a bit socially awkward and perhaps a bit slow. He divides the two friends after becoming obsessed by Romeo's sister and his darker side starts to expose the unhinged aspect of his personality.

Meadows' demonstrates his abilities to present the emotional aspects of men in his films. Be it a broken father trying to wriggle back into the lives of his ex-wife and kids, or an unbalanced man on the road to self destruction. It's not done with long cheesy moments of pained expressions and long passages of narrative blurting out mental anguish - it's done in a subtle and more effective way. His strength as a director is to capture portrayals which could be happening right there and then on your street, every character is believable. Even the mentally deficient Morell who provides us with some over-the-top comedy moments feels real.

In a nutshell: A brilliant example of the type of cinema which feels as though it's more real life than fiction, and of which Meadow's is a master. Each character has a history, there are no clear cut bad eggs here - each is a product of their experiences. This is one of Meadows' earlier films, but it's still distinctly his. It feels wrong to describe the cast as actors as they never seem to be acting, they seem to *be* the characters they play on screen. A special mention to the superb Paddy Considine and young Andrew Shim who went on to appear in other Shane Meadows films.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 4 July 2010
What can I say, this film is amazing :)
Anyone who has enjoyed any of Shane Meadows films or Paddy Considine's for that matter, look no further. Shane's brillliant talents at directing beautiful films that make us laugh and cry and Paddy's fantastic acting (as ever) makes this film one you can't afford to miss.
Two young boys, Gavin and Romeo (Andrew Shim- This is England), are best friends. Equally troubled at home and school (with parents who are either downright weird or very violent) they stick together and look out for one another whenever trouble arises.
But when strange young outcast Morell (Considine- Dead Man's Shoes, Hot Fuzz) saves the boys from being beaten up, their lives start to change forever, and the boy's relationships with each other and their own parents are put to the test.
Something that starts off so light hearted and fun starts to turn ever so dark. It really is compelling stuff.
Fantastic acting (as ever with Meadow's films) and it is guarrenteed to make you burst out laughing, into tears and keep you stuck on the edge of your seat.
If you enjoy British films, you can't afford to miss this one. Really, you can't.

'One beat, two beat three beat, sugar beat. Four beat, five beat, six beat, wheat-a-beat. Seven beat, eight beat, nine beat, heartbeat. My heartbeat, my heart is beating for you.'...
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 16 March 2002
In the year 2000 British Film fans witnessed a tremendous triumph. No, it was not the oscar winning Sam Mendes (American Beuty) it was the highly under rated writer/director Shane Meadows. His triumph ? His film... 'A Room For Romeo Brass.'
A tremendously inspiring work of art, 'Romeo Brass' explores pier pressure. A hunter to all, as we see a number of characters deal and not deal with random victimisation.
A must see for all fans of the silver screen... Even the blockbuster fan should find something in this beutifull slice of real, life, chaos.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Alienation and the loner!

Shane Meadows is fast becoming one of the finest directors to come out of England, his films have such an earthy quality to them it's very hard to imagine that any Englishman can not find one film from his output that they can't identify with. Be it thematically or character wise. Meadows is the man from the street laying out his stories with honesty and gusto awareness. Whether Meadows will ever break out and be a hit outside of the British Isles is highly debatable, his Dead Man's Shoes from 2004 was well received away from his home shores, but you would be hard pressed to find anyone in American multiplexes (for example purposes only) who could tell you who he is, which for a director who has his finger firmly on the pulse of characterisation, that is a crying shame.

A Room For Romeo Brass is the tale of two teenage boys who during a fight with some bullies meet gangly loner Morell, as Morell starts to take an unhealthy obsession with Romeo's sister, their friendship is pulled apart, but this is merely the start of Morell's impact as he is about to explode into both of the boys already fractured families.

That's all you need to know really, for there is no more to tell, and this is one of Meadows's main strengths, there are no hidden agendas, no allegories of wars, this is just an everyday English housing estate with two families awash with everyday characters. Just how often do you see a loner in your neighbourhood? They are there, are they all like Morell? Well it may be best not to find out eh?

Paddy Considine makes his film debut here (thankfully he is now a name across the waters), and his turn as Morell is as scary as it is sad. Anyone who was impressed with his turn as the vengeful Richard in Dead Man's Shoes will be well rewarded here. A young Andrew Shim as Romeo grabs the role with sizzling vitality, a character calling for strength of nature whilst layering in a heartfelt slant that the story benefits from. I must mention big Frankie Harper (Dog in Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels), playing Romeo's estranged father, he gets it absolutely note perfect and I was delighted to see Meadows give him the film's crowning moment.

A film that opens with The Specials and closes with The Stone Roses should always appeal to an English heart, but lets get Shane Meadows' work out there to the masses, for here is a man who even gives an end credit mention for the man who turned on the generators, a man making films for the people, about the people in our midsts. 8/10
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 4 April 2012
Shane Meadows' 1999 film A Room For Romeo Brass is a brilliantly funny, and at times tragic, film whose storyline was largely based on Meadows' own childhood upbringing in the Staffordshire town of Uttoxeter. Meadows wrote the screenplay for the film jointly with long-time collaborator, best friend and neighbour Paul Fraser, and the two central characters in the film (Romeo Brass and Gavin 'Knocks' Woolley) are respectively based on Meadows and Fraser. A Room For Romeo Brass is notable for introducing a number of newcomer actors (and actresses) who have since become regular players in Meadows' subsequent films (namely Paddy Considine, Vicky McClure and Andrew Shim).

The film charts the lives and adventures of friends Romeo and Gavin, both excellently played by respectively Andrew Shim and Ben Marshall. Meadows depicts the friendship of the two boys as an antagonistic, but tender, relationship, as they struggle to come to terms with their broken (and dysfunctional) families, and with Gavin's serious back condition for which he requires hospital treatment. Their lives are further disrupted by the arrival on the scene of the gawky fantasist, and near-psychotic, Morell (brilliantly played by film debutant Paddy Considine) who attempts to befriend the two boys. Meadows includes a number of (his now trademark) comedy set-piece scenes as Morell makes repeated, and hilariously misjudged, attempts to seduce Romeo's sister Ladine (played by Vicky McClure in another great debut performance). However, beneath the comedic surface, Morell gives hints of psychotic tendencies as he begins to bully Romeo and Gavin, and then faces up to Gavin's father Bill (played with great eccentricity by Meadows' former real-life filmschool teacher, James Higgins) and with Romeo's father, the thuggish Joe (played by Frank Harper).

In A Room For Romeo Brass, Meadows has created an hilarious film, but peppered with his now familiar masterly touch for combining moments of great poignancy, such as those between Romeo and Gavin and even those between roughneck father Joe and his children Romeo and Ladine, with extremely effective moments of brooding violence. These are filmic skills which he was to further develop in his later classic films Dead Man's Shoes and This Is England. Meadows' cinematographer Ashley Rowe also does a laudable job, creating an authentic urban setting for the film, interspersed with some inventive cutting and crane shots at climactic moments of the drama.

Finally, Meadows has pulled together a typically varied and brilliant soundtrack, starting with The Specials' A Message To You Rudy, which plays over the opening credits, and featuring songs by such diverse artists as Beck, The Stone Roses, Fairport Convention, Beth Orton, Edwin Star, Billy Bragg, Belle & Sebastian and Sunhouse (the short-lived band that featured Meadows' long-time musical collaborator Gavin Clark). Meadows really is a master at creating beautifully reflective musical interludes in his films, and A Room For Romeo Brass features a number of these.

A great film by one of the best British film-makers of the last 20 years.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 17 September 2010
I've been a fan of Shane Meadows since 2000, when I saw this strangely named film while working in Sydney. I absolutely loved it, and still do. I've watched it countless times, and given copies of it, or lent my DVD, to many of my family and friends. As many may know, it's set in a nameless Midlands town (usually supposed to be Nottingham, Meadows' hometown). I won't go in to the plot, as the description will do that. What deserves mentioning is the star actors in it, both boys who'd never acted before. Meadows, like another great director, Ken Loach, is a fan of the novice to the screen. Boy, does that approach work here. The chemistry between the two boys is wonderful and realistic. The sinister character played by the outstanding Paddy Considine (a good friend of Meadows, who is shortly to release his first film, I believe) is chilling. In short, this is a compelling, well acted, and heartwarming film.

Just to mention that the first scene, when Romeo Brass goes home eating chips that he has bought for himself and his family, is one of the funniest I've ever seen. I won't say any more. Just buy this DVD and watch it!

If you haven't already, look out for some of Meadows' other wonderful films: Dead Man's Shoes,Once Upon A Time In The Midlands,This Is England,Somers Town.

Ben Kane, author of The Forgotten Legion.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 8 July 2005
This film is wicked from the opening bars of 'Message to Rudy' to the moment the credits roll, touching and well-observed story about two boys, their friendship and their search for a father figure they can aspire to. It's also very funny!
What I loved most about it was the way in which all the characters were ambiguous, your sympathies shift throughout the film from one to the other and no-one is either wholly bad or wholly good. Paddy Considine is fantastic Morell is both frightening and intimidating, but you feel very sorry for him in his lonely social inadequacy.
The master stroke for me was the two boys' dads - brilliantly written and acted. Watch it!
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