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In 2004, the Edinburgh Festival sees the world premier of the film Dead
Man's Shoes from Midlands director Shane Meadows. In this short
documentary Meadows takes us from the inspiration for the film, indeed
the very event that he feels turned him into the person he is today,
and the actual making of his fourth feature film.
With its short running time and release before the film it refers to, I did worry that this would be more promotional material than it is interesting documentary and, to be honest, at times it does cut it very fine. The film was advertised with the offer of behind the scenes footage but this is mostly pretty thin at best; shots from the film and scenes of the cast filming a few brief scenes will not be enough for anyone certainly not fans, but this is all we are given. Footage of the Edinburgh Festival is interesting enough, with Johnny Vegas providing the laughs we have come to expect from him.
What does make the film worth seeing though is a couple of very candid and interesting contributions from Meadow's himself. He talks about his involvement in the world of skin heads and the event that pushed him away from violence and made him 'him'; he talks about the guilt that he has and how he sees his fourth film as being a channel or a vent for that guilt. His talk is so mercifully free of the usual fawning and promotion that I was easily won over. He is honest, down-to-earth and pretty interesting throughout the film. Certainly none of the rest of the cast and crew are really involved in this, but Meadows is more than up to carrying the film.
Overall this is an interesting little film but not one that will give you much in the way of behind-the-scenes insight. However in Meadows himself it has a great focal point and becomes a lot more interesting whenever he opens his mouth. He makes it worth seeing with a couple of dialogues that are personal, engaging, insightful and very honest refreshing in the 'making of' genre, so often loaded with self-promotional and insincere fawning over those involved.
This film is a great British film. I think the features that make this film so great are the use of no massive special effects, no cars jumping over buildings but a good solid performance from Paddy. It has everything a great film should have, a decent story line, its a bit sad, you get into the film because it could be a true story because this sort of things happens a lot as someone is bullied where a group pick on a weaker person. The cool calm collective Richard is excellent, they way his role is played makes the film that bit better as he is not afraid what so ever, classic revenge film all though when i first watched it i thought "this is a bit harsh killing them for bullying him, just beat them up" then you find out the real reason at the end alongside the powerful music which just gives you that gut feeling when you find out the twist. Hope to see more films like this one, who said the Brits cant make good films hey?
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