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3.9 out of 5 stars
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 24 May 2011
Boy there is a positive glut of these atypical rite of passage,"gritty" film 4 lottery funded films.You know the sort poor kid,alcoholic father,family becomes a violent feral gang,kid grows up poetically off the tracks,scenes of yob carnage coupled with a banging 70s soundtrack.I yawn.I watched this because of the hyperbole,critics frothing at the mouth with lavish praise.I wish these critics would stop their shenanigans.Well the film for the first half pretty much follows the gritty social realism template we all are bored of albeit with indecipherable scottish talk.Frankly i was going to turn the movie off with all the stifled dinnertimes,ruffled teachers etc but held on.The 2nd half is definetly better adding a more surreal style to the kitchen sink,a more abstract approach which was original and worked.I believe the actor who played the lead far more affective in this segment whereas in the first half he was way too vacant,it was impossible to care or identify with him.The director Peter Mullan gives an interview in the extras and comes across as a cool,bs free guy and is refreshingly articulate.Those expecting a This Is England ride i would advise caution,its an ok film with some nice touches but NOT the masterpiece the cover screams at you.Someone desperately needs to revitalise this genre and move it away from estates and the inherent romanticism,the only example that springs to mind is Clockwork Orange.And that was a long time ago.I am tired of working class people being presented as alcoholics,unfit parents or violent pyschopathic football hooligans.
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on 11 March 2013
As someone who attended school in 60s and 70s this could have been a refreshing trip down memory lane. However there is nothing new here, no new insights, no humour to appeal to feelings of nostalgia. I am a fan of Peter Mullan but this was a very mediocre effort by him.
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VINE VOICEon 26 June 2011
"Neds" is an electrifying film, gripping from start to finish, featuring a mesmerising performance from Connor McCarron as the troubled John Magill, the clever and sensitive son of an alcoholic father and the brother of a violent teenage gang leader. The film starts with John preparing for life in secondary school.He is a bright student and an altar boy with high expectations. However he goes off the rails one summer in his early teens when he gets rejected by his middle class friend and gets sucked into a vicious teenage gang of "Neds". John becomes violent and disrespectful and loses interest in his studies. However after being involved in some brutal violence and being dumped by his gang mates, he tries to turn over a new leaf, but he is thrown into a remedial class "bin" by the school headmaster and faces life at the bottom of the academic food chain after being near the top. Can John cope with this and is it too late for him to change his fate ? "Neds" is a superb character portrayal of a clever , but weak willed and impressionable teenager , growing up in a rough Scottish "scheme" in the 1970's. His fall from grace and descent into madness is graphically portrayed in this film and it is harrowing to watch. Moral of the story for parents is to keep your teenagers indoors as much as possible and keep close tabs on who their friends are.
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