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Film: Dead Man's Shoes
Richard and Anthony
"God will forgive them. He'll forgive them and allow them into heaven. I can't live with that."
Richard, Opening Lines

Dead Man's Shoes is a British revenge flick directed by Shane Meadows, who co-wrote it with star Paddy Considine.

Richard is a squaddie who has left the army and returned to his home town. Not for a happy family reunion, but to brutally murder the people who tormented his mentally retarded younger brother, Anthony, after he left to join the forces.

Notable for its very dark tone, a squalid setting in a dismal overcast town and standout performances from Paddy Considine, Gary Stretch and Toby Kebbell who were all nominated for awards for this film.

This film contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Actor Allusion: The boxing gloves hanging up in Sonny's house (actor Gary Stretch is a professional boxer).
  • The Alleged Car: The gangsters drive a somewhat pathetic CitroŽn 2CV.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Richard's favorite tactic for freaking people out is to leave evidence that he's been on their turf
  • Aloof Big Brother: is putting it nicely.
  • Anti-Hero: Richard is a vicious and bloodthirsty torturer and murderer, but at least he's getting revenge on the bad guys.
  • The Atoner:
    • This is a possible interpretation for Richard's actions. He actually hated and was disgusted by his brother's mental condition, and his revenge on the bullies who tormented and drove Anthony to suicide are at least partly driven by guilt.
    • The final member of the gang Richard hunts down is also depicted to be this, being the only member we see express genuine remorse over their actions towards Anthony (as opposed to simply fear of his brother's retribution) and having moved away from his former life.
  • Bad Ass: Richard.
  • Beard of Sorrow: In Flash Back we see Richard clean shaven in his army uniform at his brother's funeral, yet in the present day he's got a somewhat scraggly beard.
  • Best Served Cold: As especially evidenced by his confrontation with Sonny, Richard is completely calm and calculated in his execution.
  • Black and Grey Morality: The thugs toyed with and tormented Anthony, which inadvertently led to his suicide. Richard brutally slaughters the thugs. Neither side is exactly in the right.
  • Black Comedy: There are some moments of very dark humour sprinkled throughout.
  • The Bully: All of the gang members, but especially Sonny.
  • Bully Hunter: Richard
  • Dead All Along: Anthony has been in Richard's head the whole time, and has clearly driven him completely mad.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: the flashbacks.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: The gearbox breaking.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Played with. We know from early on that the thugs have done something nasty to Anthony, but he doesn't seem much worse for wear. We find out later that Anthony is actually dead, having committed suicide as a result of their cruelty. Even still, the thugs never intended for Anthony to die, so murdering them all in as cruel a means as possible is still pretty disproportionate.
  • Driven to Suicide: Anthony. And Richard, in a way.
  • Drugs Are Bad: "You know why people give kids drugs? So they can control their minds. 'cause they're fucking weak-minded themselves."
  • Flyaway Shot: How the movie ends.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Both the conversation about the school sports day and the lyrics to the opening track "Vessel in Vain."
    • Anthony is never seen without Richard, and is always wearing the same clothes as in the flashbacks.
  • Flashback: Anthony's story is told in grainy monochrome flashbacks.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: Invoked by Richard, who uses one to freak out the drugged gangsters. Herbie thinks he's an elephant.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Richard; "You, you were supposed to be a monster - now I'm the fucking beast. There's blood on my hands, from what you made me do."
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: Richard's "suicide" scene.
  • I Have a Family
  • I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: The thugs shoot one of their own. Needless to say, Richard is greatly amused.
  • Implacable Man: Richard, particularly the scene where he comes slowly striding up to a car full of gangsters with an axe in hand, as they try desperately to start the car.
  • Improv: Many of the scenes, especially those of the villains chatting to one another, were improvised.
  • It's Personal: And how.
  • The Midlands: Like all of Shane Meadows' movies, this is the setting.
  • Mind Screw: In-universe
  • Mood Whiplash: The film frequently segues from light-hearted banter to some pretty graphic physical or psychological violence.
  • Mook Horror Show: In particular the Mushroom Samba scene. Coming downstairs, stoned, to find a man in a gas mask stanring through the window? Yikes.
  • Murder-Suicide: This is Richard's plan.
  • Mushroom Samba: Richard drugs some of the thugs with hallucinogens so his Mind Screw will be all the scarier. It's also used as a method of forcing the gangsters to "empathise" by giving them the same mental capacity as his brother.
  • Never Bring A Knife To A Fistfight: The thugs go after Richard with a rifle while he's armed only with a wood axe. It ends poorly for the thugs.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Not only is Richard determined to kill 'em all but he wants to inflict just as much psychological damage as was dished out to his brother.
  • The Reveal: The fact that Anthony was dead all along, becomes apparent only towards the end of the movie.
  • Revenge: Richard wants to avenge the trauma suffered by his brother Anthony
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Richard's quest to kill the gang of petty criminals who tormented his brother.
  • Rule of Scary:
    • Why is he wearing a gas mask? Because it's fucking creepy.
    • Richard manages to start off the film making an apology a disturbing experience for the recipient.
  • Scenery Porn: There are a lot of lovely shots of the beautiful scenery of the Midlands — all the better to contrast with the dismal, miserable and squalid village setting.
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: "I love English cock." And loads of others.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: a possible interpretation of Richard.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance
  • Spot of Tea: Richard puts a pile of stolen drugs in the kettle, reducing the remnants of the gang to drooling imbeciles after they make tea.
  • These Hands Have Killed: Mark.
  • Time Passes Montage: The movie begins with a montage of Super8 footage of Richard and Anthony growing up.
  • Vigilante Man
  • Wham Line: "He was a fucking embarrassment to me". This completely changes the audience's perception of Richard's motivation for the murders and his relationship with his brother.

A Day Without a MexicanFilms of 2000 - 2004 D.E.B.S.

alternative title(s): Dead Mans Shoes
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