Despite having a drunken, abusive father and a brother who leads a local gang John McGill is a studious boy for whom a bright educational future seems to beckon. However his studiousness isolates him and when he is invited to join the gang it gives him a sense of belonging. However he becomes increasingly more violet, stabbing a boy in the neck, for which his brother is blamed and jailed, and dropping a breeze block on a rival gang leader, causing him permanent brain damage. John is temporarily thrown out of his home by his mother and suspended from school though when he is readmitted he is placed in the remedial class. John now has no interest in education but in being the top boy amongst the NEDS or non-educated delinquents. He is invincible, and even the lions at the local safari park let him pass without attacking him. Written by
don @ minifie-1
Originally Peter Mullan planned to shoot the film in the same style as Ken Loach - ie, shooting in sequence and only giving the actors the scenes that they were required to do on the day so that they wouldn't know the outcome. However, Mullan only caused greater problems for himself by not shooting in sequence as he found himself constantly explaining to the actors what they had just done chronologically. After two weeks, he relented and gave all the actors the full script to read and learn. See more »
Teachers were not allowed to smoke in classrooms in the mid-1970s. See more »
Take your seats. And stop your crying. Why is it that whenever a boy is sent to this class he seems to think he's in the beginning of a never-ending downward spiral to failure? Now, I'm starting to take this personally! I am just as bloody good as any other teacher in this or any other bloody school!
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The film successfully exposes the frustrations and impotence of failed systems in religion, education, friendship, families, government and employment. Scenes that are funny one moment take on deeper and darker meaning the next. Excellent acting, writing and direction. What is referred to by one reviewer as the Jesus scene, I felt is central to the thread of religion that runs through the movie, though each viewer can interpret it as they wish. It is just as appropriate as Rentons withdrawal scenes in Trainspotting for comparison. It seemed to me that the characters could deal with the physical beatings, but the subtle, and silent violence was more brutal, insidious, and damaging. It is one of those films that will keep you thinking long after the credits finish.
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