Last year I managed the sum total of one film recommendation on this site. Pathetic. This year will be different. I’m planning to post at least one recommendation a month – either a film, a book, or a TV series. I’m also around 60% through a complete re-watch of the original TWILIGHT ZONE, and I’m contemplating sharing my thoughts on every one of the 150+ episodes once I’m done. As far as films go, I don’t necessarily want to write about current movies that everyone else is talking about, instead I want to delve a little deeper. I’m interested in finding lost and overlooked gems. And by gems, I’m don’t mean films that are perfect (can any film be perfect?). I mean films that, for one reason or another, have lodged themselves in my brain after viewing.
Today’s recommendation is DEAD MAN’S SHOES – a revenge thriller from director SHANE MEADOWS (THIS IS ENGLAND) and actor PADDY CONSIDINE (HOUSE OF THE DRAGON, TYRANNOSAUR).
A disaffected soldier returns to his hometown to get even with the thugs who brutalized his mentally challenged brother years ago.
Here’s the trailer. Click the link below for my thoughts.Read more: Dead Man’s Shoes
It wasn’t the trailer for DEAD MAN’S SHOES that attracted me to the movie, it was a single scene. It went viral last year, no doubt as a result of Considine’s appearance in HOUSE OF THE DRAGON when many folks realised something a lot of us had known for years – he’s a bloody incredible actor. You may have seen the clip in question. If not, check it out below.
If you’ve read any of my books, you’ll know that I love small-scale stories (or world-changing stories, told from small-scale perspectives). DEAD MAN’S SHOES feels like it takes place in a bubble – a tiny subsection of a small community in a lost suburb of a moderately-sized town. It’s all the more powerful because it feels so self-contained. What you see is (for the most part) what you get. Every action has consequences. There’s no chance of getting lost in the crowd, or of hiding from the local hitman.
Considine (who co-wrote the script with Meadows) plays Richard, a soldier who returns to his hometown after a period away on service. We learn that his younger brother Anthony (played by TOBY KEBELL) was the victim of abuse at the hands of a gang of local heavies and drug dealers. Now, with a chilling calm and emotionless determination, Richard exacts his revenge. GARY STRETCH – British boxing champ turned actor – is very well cast as the ringleader of the hoods.
So far, so straightforward. And for the most part, it is. But there’s another level to this film that caught me off-guard. The understated production and natural performances suck you in and, before you know it, you’ve got your eyes wide open and you’re unable to turn away as you witness some pretty horrific acts. The unexpected twists and violent scenes are belied by the mundanity of the location and the characters that inhabit this grubby corner of the world. At its (very black) heart, the film poses uncomfortable questions about crime and morality. Considine’s magnificent performance is worth the price of admission alone.
Unfortunately, I can’t find DEAD MAN’S SHOES on any of the major streaming services here in the UK just now. It’s available on DVD and Blu-ray, through, and I definitely recommend shelling out a few quid to watch this powerful and unsettling film.
Thanks for reading.
Over the years I’ve recommended many films, books, and podcasts. You can find a full list of them here.
A lot of folks find their way to this site from search engines and social media. If you’re new here, let me introduce myself – I’m DAVID MOODY, author of dystopian horror and science-fiction. I’m best known for the HATER and AUTUMN novels, but you can find all my books here.