13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 13 February 2006
I watched this film last night - for the umpteenth time and still found it almost as good as the first time. There are some segments that have the effect of stunning you when you first see them, but they are still incredibly powerful at the 20th time of viewing.
I can only echo the sentiments of other reviewers. In many senses this is minimalistic, stripped down film making but it's genius is that Meadows' writing (co written with lead Considine) and direction distill the very essence of organic film-making. The unknown Keppel is fantastic, ex-boxer Stretch an Oldman-esque revelation, whilst Considine gives a unique performance. The scene with Stretch at the roadside has more menace than the Godfather trilogy, Goodfellas and any other film you care to mention put together, and Joe Pesci never called anybody 'duck'.
The range of emotion is devastating, the performances brilliantly natural due to the direction of Meadows. In many ways this is like a fly on the wall documentary. The bonus features with commentary highlight the genius of Meadows approach.
This is the sort of film you'll want to introduce other people to and watch it with them to relive the experience of seeing it through fresh eyes yet again.
What more can I say other than this is one of the greatest films ever, and virtually untouchable in the modern era. Violent, yes, but never gratuitous. The story and the characters are at the heart of every scene, every moment. There is not an ounce of fat anywhere in the script or diection , every moment is crucial to the plot and the final majestic sweep of the Derbyshire countryside leaves you exhausted but exhilarated. A proper, proper film which heralds Meadows, without doubt, as a true Working Class Hero.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 11 November 2007
I was somewhat sceptical before seeing this, I wasn't expecting much to be honest. I was not familiar with Shane Meadows or Paddy Considine, both of whom now have my attention. I was expecting another boring unremarkable British drama, of which there seem to be many. But I must admit to being blown away with what I saw.
Considine stars as Richard, an ex-soldier who has returned to his hometown after a stint in the army. He is NOT returning for a social call, but something a lot more demanding. His mentally impaired brother Anthony (Toby Kebell in a brilliant performance) was subjected to a barrage of bullying and intimidation by a bunch of local degenerates afew years back, none of whom the viewer is meant to feel any sympathy for, as they feel none themselves. Richard is guilt ridden at not being there, so takes it upon himself to take revenge-in his own way.
Whats different about this film, is that this is no "by the book" revenge movie with a shining hero and a happy ending. Richard is the monster in this movie, and the bullies who tormented Anthony soon become the tormented. They start to feel the fear Anthony did, and soon realise Richard will not stop.
Low budget, gritty and upfront, Dead Man Shoes ought to be hailed as a benchmark movie in British cinema, seriously, it is top notch stuff.
DVD extras are great, with a short film starring Toby Kebell as a "wrestler", some interesting deleted scenes, an alternate ending and more.
99 of 105 people found the following review helpful
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?
46 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on 17 January 2005
This is easily my favourite film of 2004 and is best described as a cross between The Office (in terms of humour) and Taxi Driver. I have to admit that I had never heard of the director Shane Meadows before seeing this but I will certainly be seeking out his previous work after experiencing this fantastic piece of cinema, Hollywood could learn a thing or two from this guy. The same goes for lead actor Paddy Considine who gives a brilliantly believable performance as Richard, Considine is an extremely naturalistic actor who quite simply becomes the character and given the films docu-style approach you sometimes forget it is actually a film.
I found this film to be an extremely refreshing change from the bilge that Hollywood churns out nowadays, it is extremely funny one minute and then shockingly brutal the next although it does not depend on gore for shock value and strikes a great balance between humour and drama. Apparently some of the script was improvised during filming and this gives the whole film a believable edge which really adds to the whole story, ex-boxer Gary Stretch plays the bad guy at the centre of Considine's rampage and also gives a great performance. In summary if you're tired of formulaic Hollywood films and fancy something that's generally different check out Dead Man's Shoes, I've been spreading the word about how good this is and those who've have seen it all agree.
34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
I've been waiting for Meadows to make a film that fulfilled the promise his short films showed ever since seeing his short film Where's the Money, Ronny?, and with Dead Man's Shoes he finally delivers. It's a remarkable reimagining of Death Wish as it would be in the real world, set among tatty Midlands housing estates with villains with crap cars and a pathetic array of mail order weaponry. Shot very effectively in a style somewhere between Italian neo-realism, early Scorsese and even Cassavettes improv but with a flavor all its own, it doesn't matter that one of the plot twists is very obvious (so obvious, in fact, I'm not even sure that it's even meant to be a twist) because co-writer Paddy Considine is such a riveting yet natural presence in the lead: he's able to be genuinely threatening while keeping it absolutely real, creating a very believable monster. There's no vanity, no attempt to go for the cool or the comic (if anything he undercuts the character's attempts to do so without ever becoming a cheap joke) and little in the way of grandstanding. And the gutted close-up of Considine closing his eyes in a bus shelter is a truly remarkable piece of acting without acting. In an industry where lightweights like Clive Owen get lead roles thrown at them, he's the real thing and quite possibly the greatest British actor of his generation.
Not for everyone, perhaps (the reception in the US has been particularly poor), but one of the best low-budget British films in a long time. An excellent extras package, too.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
It is a joy to come across something you had never heard of before and discover a gem. This is it. Great setting great music again by artist of whom I was completely ignorant . The whole experience was an education is great film making and entertainment. The director Shane Meadows wrote the film with the main actor Paddy Considine who plays the part of Richard.
I like a good revenge film and more so if it is British the classic being Get Carter. They are more menacing because of the familiar British backgrounds. IN Us films the backgrounds are too fantastical for me and they use a variety of weapons which are not available to us.
The ex paratrooper(Richard) who comes home to revenge is brother is set in a gritty Northern setting with a minimum of dialogue by the paratrooper. He starts by threatening the first gang member he sees then trashes their flat.
When the gang find him he admits it and the gang leader tries to intimidate him by facing up to him. He is not intimidated and by use of a very few words expresses to the gang leader and viewer that he is not to be messed with. There are no weapons just two men facing each other.
From then on the gang are wetting themselves even though no violence has yet taken place. The plot then moves on with the action.There are some great twists which I will not give away but they are all totally unexpected.
I will be watching the director's and the main actor's other films. A great British crime film. It proves they can be made. All you need is a good story no special effects of lavish backgrounds required.
No car chases or machine gun shoot outs. The gang in fact all drive around in a battered 2CV which breaks down and they have to walk. The killer walks every where but still seems to get there before the gang. Highly recommended.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 3 June 2006
This is exactly my kind of film.A gritty brit flic. The acting was superb, the two actors playing the brothers were amazing and sucked you into totally believing the story. Although dark and often harrowing, the story is true to life and not glamorised or over done. there is a level of violence, but i dont feel it is too graphic or out of context. It is needed to portray the heart break and pain of the lead charicter (Played by paddy Considine ..... who was amazing) It kept me hooked from begining to end, and the twist at the end made me gasp out loud and shed a tear.
A truly amazing piece of work, as stated by another reviewer, hollywood could do well to look at this film and take a few tips.
I highly highly recomend this to all film lovers.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 30 September 2005
A deeply disturbing and at times hilarious film that crosses multiple genres. Astounding realism and chilling to the bone. Paddy Considine as Richard is simply breath-taking in his acting ability; in fact it is true for this film that Paddy IS Richard. Gary Stretch is excellent as Sonny and his villain is eminently believable. The rest of the cast are also brilliant and make the film an experience in itself. When you also consider that half of the cast are not professional actors you wil realise what an achievement this is. Toby Kebbel, a new face, is brilliant as Anthony; Richards brother with learning disability. I shan't go into any detail as that would spoil this amazing brit-flick, all I can say is get this DVD, you'll want to keep it and see it again and again. The images and characters will stay with you long after the film is over. In my opinion the best film I have seen in a very long time, if not the best film I have ever seen. Rent it, buy it but whatever you do this year - see this film.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 20 October 2007
This film is one of the best brittish films i have ever seen, it keept you on the edge of your seat at all times, and has a great story line, with flashback scenes and other great effects, the chilling storyline makes this film a unmissable and a definate buy. Well done Shane Medows.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 27 January 2008
Arguably Shane Meadow's most accomplished film to date, Dead Man's Shoes combines the director's normal witty observance of small-town Midlands life with that of a classic revenge movie. It stars co-writer and Meadows regular Paddy Considine as Richard, an ex-soldier returning to his hometown to avenge his brother's bullying at the hands of some drug-dealing townie low-lifes. Richard's mildly mentally handicapped younger brother is played so convincingly by relative newcomer Toby Kebbel that he threatens to outshine even the brilliant Considine. Some of the low-key scenes of the two together talking are probably the best pieces of ensemble acting in any Meadows film, which are usually characterised by their use of improvisation and non-professional actors. This characteristic is certainly true of Dead Man's Shoes' gang of tawdry, small-town drug-dealers who are both hilariously and horribly believable.
What marks Dead Man's Shoes out in comparison to Meadows' previous films is that there is a real twist - a sting in the tail. This leads to a climatic but ultimately ambiguous ending which flips the revenge movie formular on its head. Is Richard's act of revenge more an act of atonement for his own failures as a brother, his own guilt about failing to protect him. Or does this act of atonement extend to the soldier's private shame in having a disabled brother? And at what cost is this act of revenge on Richard himself? "Now I'm the monster", he reflects, managing to get the balance right between menace and remorse in a way that marks him out as one of the best actors of his generation. A truly great British film then, and a great value DVD featuring some interesting commentaries and interviews with the director.