Richard returns home from military service to a small town in the Midlands. He has one thing on his mind: revenge. Payback for the local bullies who did some very bad things to his brother. At first his campaign employs guerrilla tactics, designed to frighten the men and put them ill at ease. But then he steps up his operation, and one by one these local tough guys are picked off by the terrifying angel of vengeance that Richard has become. Written by
I was starting to give up on British films. They all seem to be too considered, too focus grouped, too controlled by the marketing mafia. So it was so very refreshing to see a movie that has the inspired spontaneity so common in Japanese cinema, but with a very British story. Shane Meadows uses characters from his own past as source material, and co-writer Paddy Considine (Richard) based part of the story on family history, so we have a film that has authentic characters and authentic, semi-improvised dialogue. The revenge thriller format has never seemed more sophisticated. Richard's calculated derangement is balanced by the thuggish banality displayed by his targets, whose crimes initially seem more like misdemeanors until the last act. This movie is well paced, laugh out loud funny, and darkly menacing as it proceeds inexorably to its grim conclusion. If only more British films were like this, we might even have a film industry. It shows that the only way to make good films in the UK is to do it behind the studio's backs!
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