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Great Seventies based Drama
on 15 June 2011
NEDS or Non Educated Delinquents (which is a bacronym) - is a Film 4 production from Peter Mullan (writer, director and actor). He was responsible for the excellent `Magdalene Sisters'. This is set in early 1970's Glasgow and focuses on John McGill, who is doing rather well at school despite his dysfunctional home life. His mother is a bag of nerves and in denial about her rubbish life, his father is a drunken bully and his older brother is a Ned. He then starts Secondary school and soon realises that survival needs more than just studying.
His brothers' reputation leads other gang bullies to accept him as one of them and the pupil soon becomes the teacher. This is an excellently observed piece of film making. I could relate to so much of it, the fact that he would watch `Robinson Crusoe' (French black and white serial that the BBC would show in the summer holidays) with the curtains drawn, teachers smoking and the corporeal punishment from those same teachers. And the sound track is spot on with the likes of `The Sweet' and `Wizard' to name but two.
The acting is superb, but a word on the accents, they are broad Glaswegian, and may prove a bit hard to understand in places, Mullan has gone for authenticity over clarity if you get my meaning, and fair play to him for that. He actually used real Neds; one had to be let out of remand to finish it.
He has been criticised for stereotyping working class people as drunken thugs or bullies, but I grew up in a situation which mirrored a lot of what took place here and for me it had a lot of resonance and therefore came across as very real and very believable.
It is not a short film at 124 minutes but it does fly by. There are frequent scenes of violence and very strong language throughout, but that is the reality of how it was and in some places still is, only the police are not quite as rubbish as portrayed here. It is not primarily about gang culture, but more a study in nurture over nature, and living in a very macho centric world. I gave it five stars as I loved it and hope you will too; I look forward to the next offering from Mr Mullan.