Dead Man’s Shoes (2004)

Originally posted for January 2015’s Genre Grandeur over at MovieRob.

Dead Man’s Shoes – British film review

Dead Man’s Shoes is a 2004 thriller directed by Shane Meadows, who also co-wrote the movie along with its main star and long-time friend, Paddy Considine. The movie is a revenge story, telling the story of Richard (Considine) a soldier who has returned to his home town having been stationed at war. He has come home with the intention of getting revenge on the gang of men who tortured his handicapped younger brother Anthony (Toby Kebbell) whilst he was away.

Set in a small town in the Midlands, the two creators – Meadows and Considine – initially had the idea for Dead Man’s Shoes whilst discussing revenge movies of a grander scale and the question crept into their minds – what would happen if this was me or you? What if the setting was smaller and the characters low key? What would happen if there was a semblance of realism basically.

And so became Dead Man’s Shoes. The perfect example of a revenge movie that for once has no bravado, no corny one liners and no Liam Neeson in a leather jacket. It’s still very violent – the movie is rated 18 for good reason. And as we watch Richard pick off the perpetrators one by one, which is actually quite satisfying (though gory), there is also an undeniable sadness to a story which serves to be both bleak and triumphant at the same time.

It’s a very atmospheric movie, as well as the distinctive and moody soundtrack many scenes were shot in black and white and entwined into the movie to demonstrate the flashbacks scenes of Anthony being bullied and tortured by the local bullies.

The group of bullies themselves are Losers (with a capital “L”), small time ‘gangsters’ (pot dealers etc) who drive around in a white and green 2CV thinking they’re something special. Anyone who’s lived in a small town will have known people like this. People who never move on, people who prefer to stay ‘big fish’ in a small pond. Well, unhappily for our group of losers – Richard is the perfect killing machine, trained by the army and broken hearted for what his little brother went through – this group of losers do not stand A CHANCE.

Dead Man’s Shoes is extremely low budget – around £700,000 in total to make, which as anyone who knows anything about movie budgets will know, is crazy cheap. The low budget just makes me love the movie even more though. It proves (in my opinion, which is usually correct, even if it is just my opinion) that money means nothing when creating a wonderful piece of cinema. What does really matter is the story, writing, direction and of course, acting. All of which are perfect in this movie. Considine and Kebbell play their parts perfectly and beautifully. In fact, everyone does.

This is a must watch for everyone, a thought provoking and clever movie that never gets boring and constantly challenges the viewer. After all, with Richard avenging his brother and leaving a trail of blood behind him – who is to say he is the good guy still? It’s an interesting movie, undeniably moral but with enough blood, violence and tension to keep the most ardent thriller fan very happy. Even though you’ve probably never heard of it, don’t let that put you off. No-one has heard of it, but that doesn’t stop it being one of the best cult thrillers of all time. And I hate to be a tease but…….the twist ending will stay with you forever.

“God will forgive them. He’ll forgive them and allow them into Heaven….I can’t live with that”

About emmakwall

Films, books, soundtracks, good humour
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49 Responses to Dead Man’s Shoes (2004)

  1. Davieboy says:

    A seriously touching glimpse into the ordinary lives of ordinary siblings in a brutally ordinary town. The realism is carried along beautifully by Clayhill’s haunting soundtrack, made all the more poignant by the recent passing of the songwriter/singer Gavin Clark.
    Messrs’ Considine, Kebbell and Stretch at their natural best for sure…

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  4. Bizzarely enough..I really loved this movie. Violent as you said, yes.. but I’ve always like Paddy..and became a complete Toby Kebbell fan from the moment I saw it. 🙂

    • emmakwall says:

      It’s such a fantastic movie! I love it 🙂 I’m glad you like it too Peggy! They are both fantastic in it, I have a soft spot for Paddy too but so much kudos to Kebbell! Have you seen the movie Paddy made, Tyrannosaur? SO depressing.

      • I don’t think I’ve seen that.. I’ve got to be in the mood for depressing sometimes.. it can take a lot out of you ..ya know what I mean.. I see Olivia Colman is in it her.

        • emmakwall says:

          Definitely agree with that. I don’t always care for films that much really. I don’t mind watching them once but rarely are they ‘re watch’ material. And I mean, how hard is it to shock people anyway? It’s harder to make people laugh!

          Olivia Coleman is lovely!!!! 🙂

  5. Jordan Dodd says:

    I have been wanting to see this one for ages. Great review Emmmm’kay, sounds like something I should finally bloody watch!

    BTW how was The Witch??

    • emmakwall says:

      It was great! (The Witch) I didn’t find it super scary at the time, but there was a constant feeling of dread that I could feel and it was rather horrid in places. And back home later on it played on my mind a bit! I thought the language and authenticity was brilliant too 🙂 I actually can’t wait to watch it again to piece some of it together. How did you feel about it??

      Ooh btw Dead Man’s Shoes is great!! I actually think you in particularly would enjoy this Jordy 🙂

      P.S also watched an episode of South Park at the weekend mmmmmmm’kay 🙂

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