Dead Man’s Shoes film review

Director           Shane Meadows

Writer              Paddy Considine, Paul Fraser, & Shane Meadows

Lead                Paddy Considine

Budget             £723,000

Box Office        £414,736

Tomatometer   57%


Dead Man’s Shoes is a 2004 British thriller directed by Shane Meadows, of This is England fame. Meadows had shot to popularity with 2002’s Once Upon a Time in the Midlands and this is Meadows’ last feature prior to This is England brought Meadows to household name stature.

Meadows would go onto create the This is England television series trilogy as well as Stone Roses biopic Made of Stone.

I was first made aware of this film whilst watching a compilation of film insults. Considine looked in great form and in a completely different role to what I had seen of him previously in Hot Fuzz and The World’s End.

The film covers the four days in which Richard (Paddy Considine) gets revenge on a drug lord and his minions for abusing and forcing drugs on his brother Anthony (Toby Kebbell) who has mental illnesses.

Richard has come back from the army and back to the town where he and Anthony are from. Richard scares the dealers before breaking into the homes of leader, Sonny and his workers.

Richard picks the dealers off one by one with the obvious ending of a final boss battle with the apparent head of the drug organisation, Sonny, quelled with Meadows opting for a bit more of a gruesome ending.

The suitcase scene at the end of Act 2, for example, with Richard and the drug dealer from the opening is a work of art.

As is the third and final act. The ominous, thunderous steps of Richard towards the final kill, rumbling towards the end as we uncover the final bit of story that was wonderfully withheld for the end.

Right from the off, the script is obviously a superb piece of work, the dialogue for example is well honed along with the Northern and Midlands dialect. It has got a lot of Kitchen Sink realism elements, and the dialogue is one of those realistic elements.

Considine is excellent in this role as former army Richard, his menace level is through the roof. This is perfectly showcased in his first meeting with Sonny. Toby Kebbell is superb as well. The vulnerability of Kebbell, of Black Mirror fame, is paired off well with Considine’s brutality.

You can definitely see elements of this film’s grim nature and setting in Considine’s feature debut Tyrannosaur.

If you take away the first murder, which is slightly implausible at best, the narrative is a good one, shot perfectly by Meadows. You’re in it for the ride of brutal murders and Richard’s revenge story.

The film was filmed inside three weeks in and around Matlock in Derbyshire. Like Considine’s debut Tyrannosaur, this is very non-descript in its locations. It made several best films lists, ranking 462nd in Empire’s 500 Greatest Films list in 2008 and 92nd in Time Out’s 100 Best British Films.

If there is a modern day revolution of the kitchen sink realism sub-genre, then Dead Man’s Shoes and Considine’s debut Tyrannosaur should be first on your list to view.

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