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3.9 out of 5 stars69
3.9 out of 5 stars
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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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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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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 17 May 2016
brilliant film, enjoyed and appreciated by myself and my 15 year old daughter , highlights the barriers to learning and the social inequalities that society observes and maintains, violent and graphic in some scenes but nothing less than what is seen and experienced by many young people . A must for teachers and educators to watch .
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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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on 15 August 2013
Bought this as lead NED is played by my wifes cousin. The story is not bad and well acted by all not just cousin. Bit tame in fight scenes as I remember it being worse than this and I only saw a few fights as visiter to Glasgow. Story could have been in any city of UK as is still going on today.
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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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on 9 February 2011
NEDS (Scottish slang for Chavs), although oddly titled is a solid Film Four tale. The acting is highly convincing and it is extremely well shot with some gripping scenes. However, it is a good film but I feel it could have arguably been a great film - if it had been grittier, more direct and in it's vague conclusion. Having said that it has all the ingredients of a great 2011 film, being a refreshing change and representing the UK film industry excellently.

Plot - John, the brainy younger brother of a gang leader, in 1970's Glasgow (Scotland) struggles to avoid comparisons with his brother and teen gangs on his estate. John learns a few hard lessons, making mistakes, dealing with his alcoholic father and 'uncool' intelligence.
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on 8 December 2011
(dir Peter Mullan/124 minutes)

Neds is This is England if This is England had been called This is Scotland, with a generous dollop of Trainspotting added to the mix. The always impressive Peter Mullan writes angrily, directs angrily and stars angrily in a bleak, violent, gritty dissection of Glasgow's 1970s gang culture. John McGill (Conor McCarron) is our protagonist and we follow him from happy-go-lucky schooldays filled with potential, promise, prizes and the `right sort' of friends (the scenes detailing McGill's arrival at secondary school are, at times, very funny), but things quickly get unpleasant. Our hero is rejected by his best friend, tormented by his drunkard of a father and, perhaps justifiably, goes off the rails, following in the footsteps of his Non-Educated-Delinquent of a brother Benny who teaches him to fend for himself in a kill-or-be-killed world of bullies. I'm not sure if enjoyable is the word I'd use to describe Neds (I left the cinema craving cigarettes, beer and a lay down), but there's no denying it's power. I'm struggling to recall a recent film that I've seen that is so full of rage - and that's not a bad thing.
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on 30 January 2012
Easily the best British film of recent times. Although brutal & violent, it also has a proper story line with terriffic acting. with all the utter rubbish originating from Hollywood past few years lacking in ideas, this film proves to be a welcome change. Deserves to be classed as an iconic film alongside such films as "quadrophenia" & "scum". This will remain in my collection to be watched time and time again.
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