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 »
They love us 'cause we tell it like it is, and we don't bow down to anybody.
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STAR RATING: ***** Saturday Night **** Friday Night *** Friday Morning ** Sunday Night * Monday Morning
John (Connor McCarron) excels as a child in his studies, but the rough, hard environment around him soon has an effect on his personal character and, as he grows up in 1970s Glasgow, he moulds into one of the pack, as problems at home and school breed the violent character within him, going up against the hard drinking, knife wielding thugs that are the sworn enemies of the hard drinking, knife wielding thugs he's in with.
Glasgow still holds the notorious accolade of being 'the knife crime capital of Great Britain', so this could have been just as hard hitting and unflinching as it was setting out to be being a modern day drama. Instead, director Peter Mullan has presented a sprawling, overlong if I'm brutally honest, exploration of a young man's despairing, senseless dessension into mindless thuggery, possibly based on his own experiences. As a result of this, it comes off as very hard to get into to start with, lost as it is in it's own mood, atmosphere and style. But it's these same things that somehow manage to make it a more absorbing experience if you stick with it long enough, slowly drawing you into the life of this troubled character and the various ups and downs he encounters as he trawls through the rough landscape of his youth. Still, this feels like quite an undisciplined effort from Mullan, which veers into outlandish, arty moments (such as the lead character duking it out with the Lord Jesus Christ) that only serve to make it an even more alienating experience than it already is. ***
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