HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Den of Thieves
Cry Baby Killer, The
Ritual, The
Les Girls
Death of Stalin, The
Mission, The
Wild Life, The
Eve of Destruction
Mad Death, The
Lost in Vagueness
Sleeping Beauty
Allure
In Search of Dracula
Fantastic Woman, A
Emmanuelle II
Far from Vietnam
Inherit the Wind
Post, The
King Frat
Commuter, The
Mister Buddwing
Kiki's Delivery Service
Z-O-M-B-I-E-S
Mansfield 66/67
Old Enough
Bleeding Steel
Double Hour, The
My Generation
Geostorm
Pendulum
   
 
Newest Articles
Boris Goes Bonkers, Bela Goes Bats: The Old Dark House and Mark of the Vampire
Charles Bronson's Mid-70s: Breakheart Pass and Others
Kids in America: The Breakfast Club vs Metropolitan
80s Dance-Off: Staying Alive vs Murder-Rock vs Breakin'
The Cinematic Darkside of Donald Crowhurst
Dutch Courage: The Flodder Series
Coming of Age: Boys on Film 18 - Heroes on DVD
Country and Irish - The secret history of Irish pop culture
Wash All This Scum Off the Streets: Vigilante Movies
Force the Issue: Star Wars' Tricky Middle Prequels and Sequels
Rediscovered: The Avengers - Tunnel of Fear on DVD
Sword Play: An Actor's Revenge vs Your Average Zatoichi Movie
Super Sleuths: The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes on DVD
Stop That, It's Silly: The Ends of Monty Python
They're All Messed Up: Night of the Living Dead vs Land of the Dead
   
 
  Dead Man's Shoes Derbyshire DeliveranceBuy this film here.
Year: 2004
Director: Shane Meadows
Stars: Paddy Considine, Gary Stretch, Toby Kebbell, Stuart Wolfenden, Paul Sadot, Neil Bell, Andrew Shim, Seamus O'Neal, George Newton, Emily Aston, Paul Hurstfield, Jo Hartley
Genre: Horror, Comedy, Thriller
Rating:  8 (from 5 votes)
Review: Richard (Paddy Considine) is a young man from a small Derbyshire town who leaves to spend eight years in the army. During his time away, his mentally disabled teenage brother Anthony (Toby Kebbell) falls under the influence of a gang of small-time drug pushers who treat him increasingly badly. Richard returns to the community to be reunited with his brother and take revenge on these bullies.

The American deep south has always had the monopoly on backwoods horror, but Dead Man's Shoes sees Shane Meadows make a strong case for rural Derbyshire as a hotbed of vengeance and slaughter. From his use of music (the twisted American folk of Will Oldham, Calexico and Smog) to the eerie opening shots of a grizzled Paddy Considine striding across murky farmland, Meadows makes it clear that this time his influences are the likes of Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Deliverance, rather than the kitchen sink dramas that informed previous films Twenty Four Seven and A Room for Romeo Brass.

Nevertheless, Dead Man’s Shoes is a distinctly British film. The gang who tormented Richard’s brother are as big a bunch of buffoons as you’re likely to meet, and although the tone is menacing throughout, the first half is at times extremely funny. These idiotic druggies cruise around town squashed into a tiny Citroen, nodding their heads to pounding hip-hop. Although they traffic in drugs, they are hardly tough guys, and are as likely to relax with a cup of tea and a Pot Noodle than with a line of coke. Slightly tougher is head dealer Sonny (Gary Stretch) – the man responsible for much of Anthony’s abuse – but even he’s reduced to a terrified wreck once Richard’s killing spree begins.

The acting is strong throughout, and the gang members have a hilarious repartee. But this is Paddy Considine’s film – he co-wrote the screenplay with Meadows and conveys an incredible burning intensity. Considine remains softly spoken, even when informing Sonny of what he plans to do to him and his friends; Richard is hardly a likeable character, but like Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver, you can’t take your eyes off him.

Dead Man’s Shoes is efficient and economic, coming in at just under 90 minutes, but while Meadows isn’t interested in giving his characters any particular depth he does a skilful job of playing with audience sympathies. The gang’s treatment of Anthony is shown gradually in short flashbacks, and at first they just want to get the poor lad stoned and laid – only Sonny is interested in causing him any physical harm. None of which seems to merit the level of gruesome revenge that the gasmask-wearing Richard unleashes upon them; the full extent of what really happened is only revealed during the climax, and it is both shocking and surprising.

The violence – shootings, stabbings, axe attacks – is unpleasant but Meadows never lingers upon it, knowing that the threat of what Richard intends to do is far scarier than any amount of simulated bloodshed. Meadows may not be Ken Loach, but his portrayal of small-town deprivation is compelling, and Dead Man’s Shoes emerges as that rare thing – a bloody exploitation thriller that has both a heart and a conscience.
Reviewer: Daniel Auty

 

This review has been viewed 12227 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Shane Meadows  (1972 - )

British writer/director who graduated from two acclaimed short films into his own brand of features, set in ordinary British locations and concentrating on the humour and drama of everyday life: Twenty Four Seven, A Room for Romeo Brass and Once Upon a Time in the Midlands. 2004's Dead Man's Shoes was a change of direction, a rural revenge thriller that got some of his best reviews until the autobiographical This is England became regarded as his finest work, which he sequelised starting in 2010 for a television series.

 
Review Comments (3)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
  Jamie Nichols
Andrew Pragasam
George White
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
  Mark Scampion
   

 

Last Updated: