'Dead Man's Shoes'
(Paddy Considine, Gary Stretch, Toby Kebbell, et al / R / 89 mins / Magnolia Pictures)
Overview: Richard (Paddy Considine) has always protected his simple-minded little brother Anthony (Toby Kebbell). When Richard leaves the rural village where they have grown up to join the army, Anthony is taken in by Sonny (Gary Stretch), a controlling and vicious local drug dealer and his gang of lads. Anthony becomes the gang’s pet and plaything. Seven years later, Richard returns to settle the score.
Verdict: 'Dead Man's Shoes' starts as an ordinary revenge flickand although it travels that path for the most part, culminates in a moral tale ... of sorts! The real action takes place in a little suburban English town and together with this gritty scenescape and subject matter of revenge makes for one downright foreboding tale. And man does it have a lot of ground beneath it to philosophize and make a smart film live and breathe. But writers and directors don't always push the envelope, limiting themselves with a poor choice of seminal story-lines and developments. Hence we get stupid exploitation flicks - of which this is not one, but could have been had it have been allowed off its artistic leash - and it's truly a shame that this film is not well known because it really deserves to be. Richard (Paddy Considine) comes back from the army to his small town and the only thing on his mind is to punish the gang of local small-time drug dealers who bullied and tormented his younger, so-called retarded brother. And his vengeance is severe, believe me! That said, it's also thankfully rather thoughtful and yet still extremely powerful. It twists and turns along with it's exploration of a man's madness, of his slow descent into insanity. It also raises serious questions and it will make you ponder. The acting was just compelling. Paddy Considine ('In America,' 'Cinderella Man') created a very truthful and unforgettable character. Watch this and remember this as this is how these movies should look and feel. You won't regret it.