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“Dead Man’s Shoes”
Reviewer:
Wayne A. Klein
Studio: Magnolia Home Video
Genre: Drama
Release:
9/5/06
Special Features: Commentary by Shane Meadows, co-writer & star Paddy Considine and producer Mark Herbert, deleted scenes, “In Shane’s Shoes” featurette on the director, alternate ending
Review:

“God will forgive them…let them into Heaven…I can’t live with that” – Richard during his opening monologue in “Dead Man’s Shoes”. ***

Opening with this disturbing dialogue the film “Dead Man’s Shoes” has an authentic ring to its portrayal of thugs living in the midlands of England. A dark, disturbing but powerful drama of revenge “Dead man’s Shoes” follows Richard (Paddy Constantine) a returning military vet who seeks revenge against a group of petty drug dealers who used and abused his developmentally disabled young brother. He begins terrorizing them by appearing in gas mask and military fatigues silently beckoning for one of the dealers to come outside. He then vandalizes their apartment and gradually escalates his private little war. What’s unusual about this film is that it isn’t your standard revenge flick. Clearly the director pulled from his personal experience. Evidently he was a skinhead and did more than his fair s hare of illegal things as a youth. He knows these people how they think talk and behave. Constantine gives a stunning performance as the vengeful angry Richard. Shot on film with a lot of handheld camera work the film has a vibrancy and immediacy that’s lacking in what we see from Hollywood. Perhaps that just adds to the power of the film or makes it unconventional looking enough to make an impression either way despite the thick sometimes difficult to follow midland accents the film builds to a powerful conclusion by the end of its nearly two hour running time.

Image & Sound:

Shot on film and presented in widescreen the film occasionally suffers from softness and some other minor digital artifacts but on the whole is quite pleasing. Picture quality varies a bit there are sequences presented in black and white that are supposed to have the quality of a home movie video that’s old and beat up and it has the expected analog imperfections that go along with that. That’s not a criticism just an observation so those watching the movie won’t be questioning why it went from looking quite good with the bleak colors of the landscape that aren’t riddled with analog imperfections to scenes that are. Audio is quite good throughout in 5.1. There are no optional subtitles in English which might have been useful for those of us that have a hard time with the accents. ---

Special Features:

We get a featurette on the director Shane Meadows discussing his inspiration for and production of the film. We also get a commentary by Meadows, his star and co-writer Paddy Considine (who appeared on “Cinderella Man” recently) and producer Mark Herbert. It’s an articulate and intelligent commentary track that occasionally strays to the obvious related to what we’re seeing on the screen to discourse on the world that the trio drew inspiration from. We also get deleted scenes and an alternate ending for those that prefer to see director’s second guessing themselves. ---

Final Words:

A powerful, fascinating revenge drama “Dead Man’s Shoes” is more than a cut above most movies of this type due to the intense performance of Considine (and exceptional support from the rest of the cast) and Meadows’ perceptive observations about these individuals. Well made and directed Meadows and Considine both have a promising future ahead of them based on watching this fine film.

 

 
 
 
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