33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
A fine film made something more resonant by a remarkable lead performance,
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This review is from: Dead Man's Shoes [DVD]  (DVD)
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.