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3.8 out of 5 stars64
3.8 out of 5 stars
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
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.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 8 April 2012
Growing up in a housing scheme in Glasgow during this period made the film seem very real and similar to what it was like. Many good people lived in these areas, so this is only really a partial snapshot, however it was easy to be drawn into a life that offered little chance of escape. The portrayal of the teaching profession at that time is spot on and some of the dialogue is very humorous.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 5 April 2015
Powerful film from start to finish, Conor McCarron is brilliant! Set in the early mid 70's it took me back to my school days as now in my mid 50's, can relate a lot of the films scenarios to my own having been in a very rough secondary school! Conor reminds me of a young Ray Winstone in the film Scum. Totally recommend this film to everyone of in their 50's.
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on 4 April 2014
I'd put this film on a civic's course for teenagers if I was in charge of such a course. The film has some very good insights on the nature of the cycle of poverty and how it perpetuates through generations. The film beautifully illustrates the social conditioning that young people can be sculpted by. Many viewers will be able to sympathise with the protagonist as being a hyperbolic example of what can happen as a teenager due to peer pressure. This insight gives the film quite a unique value sociologically. However the film is partially ruined by unrealistic scenes of violence that are actually unnecessary. The one well known scene of violence involving the knives is an exception to this in that it is well done to start with, but then disappoints by becoming unrealistic. I feel this film had far greater potential but has been thwarted by a few scenes. It's as if the producers were lacking one person with a bit of cop-on to scrutinise the film before the final version, a real pity.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 26 September 2011
I like peter Mullen and have enjoyed some of his previous films ( magdalene sisters,the close,My name is Joe) but this was a little disappointing. The main character was a little wooden and lacked charisma.The character development was practically non existent too. Mullen's performance as the alcoholic abusive father was excellent though and although the film disappoints with its cat-sat-on-the-mat plot it is watchable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 5 March 2015
Thankfully I've been married to a Glaswegian for 7 years otherwise I'd probably need subtitles (I'm English). Another triumph for Peter Mullan.
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on 26 June 2015
Fantastic film. At times darkly funny, at times very sad and in my opinion pretty much near the truth. Although I grew up in Edinburgh not Glasgow, I identified with the situations and the mentality. I grew up around gangs in the 60's/70's and the personalities in the film were very real to me. Great acting all round, especially the spell-binding performance from Conor McCarron.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 23 February 2013
Neds - Non Educate Delinquents.
This is a film that looks at a sub-culture that's rooted in the 1970s and onwards, a sub-culture that reflects in some ways the experiences of the down-trodden youth of poor backgrounds the world over from a much broader spectrum of time.
The main character, John McGill, is a young lad who has an auntie who is a journalist in New York and a father who is an abusive, violent drunk.
John's a bright lad with good prospects at school, or at least he would have if his older brother hadn't already queered his pitch. It takes a while for him to show his potential and he manages to stay on the rails for his first 3 years in secondary school.
There's a certain inevitability about the beginning of his decline. He's rejected by a middle class family with whom he makes a link and from there gets mixed up with a bad crowd who act like a plughole to his swirling water.
Time's spent hanging about doing no good. A little fighting. Some snogging. Low level crime. Vandalism... you can imagine the kind of thing.
The violence escalates and John's delicately balances psyche is toppled after a series of events that push him over the edge and he's forced to leave home and shack up in a boiler in one of the local tower-blocks.
There are many things to like about this film.
The setting is wonderfully done. I loved the feel of the seventies and felt that this was about as close to my memory of the time as any modern attempt to recreate the period. It may have used some obvious tricks to help create this illusion, but I reckon it's only the obvious that would work to such good effect.
The violence is tremendously handled. I wouldn't usually comment on such things, but it really works. There's a matter-of-fact view of some of it (you're involved in a big fight or watching one, it doesn't have the frills that you often see on the movie screen, and it's all hard blows and over in a blur more often than not). There are a few rumbles between rival gangs. There's a humour to some of it that helps and there's the down-right brutal cold feel of serious events. Favourite of mine was a short scene where a young lad's being tortured. I don't want to spoil it, but can't help myself. A rope has 2 bottles attached to each end and is swung around the victims neck. The rope tightens and eventually the bottles clatter in to the victim's head. And they do it again. It shouldn't be funny, but for me it was a comedy moment.
There's a great sense of place that is created by some fine filming and great acting. There are some talented characters here and I think we'll see more of them in the future.
John McGill reminded me of Ray Winstone in Scum. Hard and deadpan and slightly deranged and with a very strong presence that makes his descent easily believable.
The plot itself works well. It does it by the numbers at some points and that's a shame, but mostly I enjoyed the steps from A to Z.
A couple of scenes stood out for me as ones I'd have cut out if I had any sway over it. One in particular that follows a bout of glue sniffing just took things too far for me.
All in all, I'd recommend this with some confidence. Lots to like and plenty of entertainment for your buck.
I'd suggest a double bill with That Sinking Feeling for a compare and contrast session afterwards.
Go and have fun.
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on 25 July 2013
As I'm from Glasgow, I had high hopes for this film. It wasn't as good as Small Faces although it often verged on being a really good film. There was just something missing and I'm struggling to say exactly what that was. Worth watching if nothing else is on but I wouldn't make an effort to watch it for a second time.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 29 June 2014
Mullan as director coaxes incredible performances out of his actors once again in a film that summons the terror and confusion of a child entering the gladiatorial arena of adolescence. Mullan himself gives a great performance as the boy's father, appearing sometimes so darkly unhinged that it makes for uncomfortable viewing.

Special mention must go to the mesmerising acting talent of Stephen McCole, who has starred in all of Mullan's feature films. Here, he gives a great performance as a young teacher who takes no stick, but clearly cares for his students, presenting a realistic, non-sentimental glimmer of compassion in an otherwise hostile landscape. The young actors - Conor McCarron and Greg Forrest - who play younger and older John McGill are both also exceptional in their performances and I hope to see more of their impressive screen acting in the future.

Mullan as writer certainly plays with our sympathies for John, waxing and waning with every assault that occurs, whether it be from his father, a gang of neds, or inflicted by his own hand upon himself Neds is a film that is wild, idiosyncratic and dangerous, but also crafted, subtle and deeply moving. See it, but keep your mind and heart wide open, or you may miss the magic.
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