I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Dead Man’s Shoes

tn_deadmansshoesMan, you guys have been trying to get me to watch this one forever. Now I’ve seen it, so I’m not sure what’s next on the list. Paddy Considine plays Richard, a soldier back in the small English town where he grew up, planning some kind of a revenge. We know this because of the first line of the movie: “God will forgive them. He’ll forgive them and let them into Heaven. And I can’t live with that.” So he’s basically the Christ equalizer, the guy who goes around pre-emptively un-forgiving people before Jesus shows up to forgive them. It could be called THE UNFORGIVER.

mp_deadmansshoesRichard walks around town with his mildly retarded brother Anthony, staking out a group of small time criminals who are hanging out at a small diner and who I got a pretty good hunch will soon be enjoying a revenge sandwich. These guys don’t have many illusions of being tough. They sell drugs but don’t always carry guns. They drive around together in one goofy Volkswagen like some old ladies carpooling to the church picnic.

Richard begins his revenge just by fucking with them. He gets in a confrontation with one at the diner, then ambushes him hours later in a completely different location to apologize. The ol’ “on the surface he’s being really cool but due to the context he’s actually planting the seeds of terror” trick. It gets crazier when he starts spooking them Michael Myers style wearing a gas mask. He lures them outside, then trashes their apartment and steals their drugs in the few minutes when they’re looking for him. When they go to tell their boss Sonny what happened the next morning he answers the door in clown makeup that he doesn’t realize Richard put on him while he was asleep. This is all to make them notice him and remember who he is – Anthony’s brother. Whenever they say it the room is draped in an “oh shit” silence.

The best moment in the movie is when Sonny goes to confront Richard. Sonny tries to be the pretending-he’s your-buddy-but-you-know-he’s-actually-threatening-you type villain. He says, “You know, the lads got this funny idea–”

“Yeah it was me,” Richard interrupts.

Richard’s fearlessness is maybe a little suicidal, but also justified by the gang’s incompetence. They have plenty of chances to take him out, but they always screw up or get scared and run away. He seems to have some Vorheesian offscreen murdering skills, but his plan is not air tight. If they were better shots or less cowardly he wouldn’t succeed. At one point he even stands with his arms out offering to let them shoot him, and they don’t take the chance. He’s not Rambo. It’s just that his enemy is sub-Dennehy.

I like Considine in the movie. It’s a good psychotic avenger performance. And I also gotta give credit to Toby Kebbel, who plays the brother. He does a good job of seeming genuinely mentally challenged without going over-the-top on any of it. I’m not familiar with him from other movies so I almost wondered.

I also like the tone of it. There’s alot of humor in the dialogue and the reactions of his victims, but it’s not jokey. I like that it’s a low budget movie shot in a small town and they make the criminals small time to fit. They don’t pretend Sonny is Scarface. He might think he’s a little more Scarface than he is, but nobody else is fooled. He’s just some dipshit that wronged the wrong guy.

mp_deadmansshoesamericanIt’s also kind of clever to mix of genres. The backstory is revealed a piece at a time and there’s quiet musical interludes. So it’s kind of like a crude lower budget version of a brooding arthouse revenge movie like THE LIMEY or GET CARTER. But it also has  a few slasher elements in the way he turns into this masked stalker. But that might’ve given the marketing people the wrong idea. I don’t know about the American DVD cover (left), that might be part of why I didn’t see this sooner.

I definitely recommend this one, but I also gotta tell it like it is with frank honestness and everything, so I have to admit that this is not getting a 100% Badass sticker from me. It’s at about a 97, which is a respectable number. The missing 3% is because there’s just a pinch of too-corny-for-my-tastes here. When he talks about how his bloody revenge makes him a monster like it’s some unexpected ironic twist it makes him seem as stupid as his enemies. And I already wasn’t really gonna side with this guy based on the sadistic way he says he’s gonna let a guy go and then doesn’t. Not that they should turn him into a hero, but the man-isn’t-it-fucked-up-how-crazy-he-is thing was real old by 2004 when this came out. I mean, if that’s what you want maybe put a trenchcoat and some mime makeup on this guy so I know what I’m getting into.

Also, when it finally reveals what exactly happened that he’s getting revenge for it’s pretty convoluted and ludicrous. I’m not quite buying this one. I guess at least it’s one I hadn’t seen before. But just so you know, makers of revenge movies, I’ll always go for “you killed my friend or loved one.” You don’t gotta get this exotic.

But I don’t want to be too harsh. It’s a unique movie, not trying to copy any of the various popular styles of crime movies. I liked it. Now you can get on me about watching some other movie. (not tv show, I know what that one would be.)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

This entry was posted on Friday, March 12th, 2010 at 8:20 pm and is filed under Crime, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

76 Responses to “Dead Man’s Shoes”

  1. Paddy Considine is really great in the second film in the Red Riding trilogy, the BBC films that are loosely based on the Yorkshire Ripper murders. You should definitely catch those if you get the chance. Great review, by the way. I guess I’ll check this out. You’re right about the DVD cover being a little off-putting.

  2. MANIAC COP 2. It’s like a great action movie with Jason in it. It’s got a funny script, great atmosphere, several amazing stunts, and Robert Davi. Plus, all the best parts of the first movie have been recycled so that no awesomeness goes to waste. A class act all the way.

  3. Let The Right One In or Dead Snow. Either way you will enjoy your evening.

  4. I second Let The Right One In. Also, Cop Out. Not for the right reasons… I just want to read your review.

  5. Vern, I would be interested in seeing you review the Jurassic Park movies, just because I’m curious as to what you think of them (especially the first)

  6. Yeah, you should watch Let The Right One In. Even if it’s just because I wanna find out if I am seriously the only one on the planet who didn’t like it.

  7. I watched it. I liked it. It’s no BLADE though.

  8. Okay, so I guess my dislike for Let The Right One In and my insane hatred for Tarantino and his legacy are the reason why I never get invited to parties. :'(

  9. It’s been years since I’ve seen this but I wasn’t that keen on it tbh, I’m not sure why, something about the tone, and the fact it’s set in “northern working class town” giving it a ‘kitchen sink drama’ vibe, a film genre I’ve never really liked. I think there’s something about english towns I find really uncinematic, I’m not sure whether it’s just because I live in one.

    However, Shane Meadow’s, the director of DMS, did go on to direct ‘This is England’ which is fantastic. A really fucking good depiction of racism, the way people can fall into joining nationalistic groups due to fear/lonliness etc. It’s set in the 80s and the central character is a 10 year old boy, the kid playing him is one of the greatest child performances I’ve ever seen, seriously amazing.

    Also, I think you’d like ‘FIDO’ Vern. I know you said you wanted to stop with the zombie films, but I’ll recommend it anyway. It’s set in an alternative 1960s where there’s been a zombie apocolypse during WW2, but now they’ve been tamed with electronic collars, and all kind of act like Bub from DotD. Killy Connelly is suprisingly great as the zombie Fido. The whole film is a little rough, it’s ideas and themes are scattershot, though I like that about it as well. To be able to fit in commentary on slaver ownership, the 1960s beginning that ‘keep up the the jones’ materialistic lifestyle and American foreign policy at the same time, is cool.

  10. The one to review (because it’s a badass masterpiece that not many people have seen) is the documentary Massoud, l’Afghan. It’s like Kurtz times Patton and then some. A documentary about a tribal commander who is fighting against the soviets in the 80’s and the Taliban in the 90’s.

    In between he reads poetry to his soldiers (badass juxtaposition).

    After the war against the Soviets he gets interviewed by Russian tv reporters who are star-struck and ask him celebrity questions like; what kind of car do you like driving. Massoud answers that in the mountains there is not much use for cars; he prefers horses.

    The documentary won some artsy prizes; but is not widely known. It deserves some attention from the badass filmology crowd.

  11. Glad you liked this one (sorta).

    Shane Meadows, is probably my favorite filmmaker to start making films since I started paying real attention to film (If that makes any sense).

    I truly do believe he has the potential to become the new Martin Scorsese. And seeing as how I have a giant Scorsese tattoo on my back (metaphorical) that’s no small praise from me.

    There’s alot of similarities to me. The use of music, the way he’s able to escalate genial piss taking into violence, the way he just gets the smell of a place on film.

    Have you seen This Is England yet? Its a flat out masterpiece. The guy from Snatch whose not Jason Statham is kind of incredible in it.

    I mean look at this opening montage (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=trR4hb9PGcY).

    Any movie that starts with Toots and The Maytals is alright by me.

    I’ll go ahead and cut my rant short though here’s more if anyone’s interested: (http://thingthatdontsuck.blogspot.com/2009/12/top-ten-films-of-decade-number-10-this.html) In short I recommend This Is England about as highly as I can recommend a film. Once Upon A Time In The Midlands ain’t bad either.

  12. Totally back this movie. Definitely not perfect, and I think it’s hard to disagree with those minor reservations, but one thing I liked in this and This Is England is that even when Shane Meadows has stuff that might be a bit obvious or convoluted, it doesn’t undermine the rest of the stuff that works.

    The kid is great in This Is England (definitely one of those things that works), but Stephen Graham is also fantastic.

  13. Thanks for finally reviewing this one Vern.

    I dunno: what about seeing WALTZ WITH BASHIR? Or A PROPHET? I’m pretty sure that’s already out in the states…

  14. Can’t believe no one brought up Billy Connellys performance in Fido in our recent is-Billy-Connelly-worth-a-shit-as-an-actor-discussion.

    In un-related news Hugo Weaving will be playing Red Skull in the upcoming Captain America movie. FUUUUUUUUCK YEAAAAAH!

  15. Vern – WHERE EAGLES DARE?

  16. Jareth Cutestory

    March 13th, 2010 at 7:47 am

    If someone walked into my office with the following cover letter, I’d hire him immediately:

    – Works well both in a group setting and alone.
    – Brings a positive attitude to the work environment.
    – Impressive Vorheesian offscreen murdering skills.

    Vern, no one would blame you if you burned out on the whole Japanese horror thing after all those RING and GRUDGE movies, but the original PULSE (KAIRO) is worth seeing. Not the crappy American remake version.

  17. ChopperSullivan

    March 13th, 2010 at 7:47 am

    I can’t back your Tarantino hatred, CJ, but LET THE RIGHT ONE IN is a fucking snoozer.

  18. I second myself from other comments by recommending In Bruges. The best thing Colin Farrell’s done for me, and Brendan Gleeson and Ralph Feinnes are really good in it too.

  19. One Guy From Andromeda

    March 13th, 2010 at 8:13 am

    I recommend the obscure french tough guy movie “100.000 dollars in the Sun” with Jean Paul Belmondo from the 60s. I think you might like that one Vern.
    .

  20. Yeah, CJ & Chopper, Let the Right One In was deathly lame.
    Dead Man’s Shoes definitely deserves better than to be compared to that garbage. I wasn’t tracking on Shane Meadows being a hotshot director & what he’s all about when I noticed DMS on some legitimate critic’s Top 10 of the Decade list. I was kind of shocked when I saw the horror/slasher style cover art for a supposedly serious film, but it was a helluvan experience.

    I’m a sucker for that music (reminded me of a Eddie Vedder’s work on Dead Man Walking, and not just for the titular similarity) and that scene where he says that he’s got the guys “right here” in the palm of his hand.
    And it’s on NetFlix streaming!

  21. DEAD MAN’S SPOILER…

    ‘ But just so you know, makers of revenge movies, I’ll always go for “you killed my friend or loved one.” ‘

    It’s been a while since I saw SHOES, but wasn’t this more or less his motivation? The reveal is a bit more unusual, but Considine’s is taking revenge for the brother he wasn’t able to take care of?

  22. DEAD MAN’S SPOILER (typos corrected)

    ‘ But just so you know, makers of revenge movies, I’ll always go for “you killed my friend or loved one.” ‘

    It’s been a while since I saw SHOES, but wasn’t this more or less his motivation? The reveal is a bit more unusual, but isn’t Considine taking revenge for the brother he wasn’t there to protect?

  23. Oh, yeah, a new recko to pester Vern: Miami Vice, the TV series.
    Yeah, you said no-no on the TV thing, but each episode is better than most films and more fun than anything else on TV/DVD, so take it back to 1984 Michael Mann-style & you won’t regret it.

    Also, I’m excited Red Cliff comes out on DVD here in about 10 days. It’s John Woo’s film that he always wanted to make and finally got the budget to make a couple years ago, according to an interview I read. Is there any way it could be better than Face//Off? No way, but I’m pumped.

  24. Mouth – Surely it’s better than WINDTALKERS.

    At the very least.

  25. Red Cliff was in UK Cinemas last summer, and it’s a good big historical epic with some interesting characters and huge battle scenes.

  26. It’s difficult and heartbreaking to try to rank John Woo’s films, RRA. It’s an exercise in frustration, to say the least, when I revisit Broken Arrow or Windtalkers in my memory and force myself to believe that this is the work of the genius behind Face//Off.

    And thanks, Stu, for spoiling Red Cliff for me. Jerk.

    But seriously, should I be content with the 148 minute version of Red Cliff or is it worth it to see the “International Version” that’s twice as long? Fuck it, I’ll watch both if the “theatrical” version is any good.

  27. We only got 148 minute version and it works, though it’s a bit weird at the start how some setup is provided by one of the trailer voice guys doing narration.

  28. Ha yeah, the UK release has a really funny english voice over to explain the setting/time period quickly. Except the rest of the film is all subs. Was it really too much effort to get a chinese voice over and subtitle it? It’s really jarring.

    The film itself is good fun, it kind of straddles the line between serious and cartoony historical epic. You have lots of detail in the battles and the soldier formations, but then you have individual “”special” soldiers, like in an RTS game, who are badass fighters thats can take on a big group of soldiers on their own, it’s cool if a little silly.

  29. The reformed pirate guy is pretty funny/badass.

  30. Vern, you need to check out A Prophet asap.

    Great film.

  31. Jareth Cutestory

    March 13th, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    Could someone who didn’t like LET THE RIGHT ONE IN elaborate on what they didn’t like? I’m not trying to be a jerk; I’m genuinely curious.

  32. From my review (and believe me, I had high expectations & optimism after hearing all good things) 4 months ago:
    **I may never understand the perpetual nature of the appeal of the potential applications of the vampire myth. As far as I am concerned, Francis Ford Coppola’s version of Bram Stoker’s Dracula is the finest example of cinema featuring the evolutionarily supernaturalized Vlad the Impaler figure.

    Let The Right One In is admirable for its, um, “realistic” displays of devotion to the popular tenets of vampirism, and it would seem potentially interesting that there would be a shy boy-versus-bully narrative that intersects with the struggles of a present-day eternally 12 year old nosferatu. The result is an altogether boring, standard version of angsty citizens, human or otherwise, who deal with violence and suffering in ways that make me glad I do not live in their neighborhood.

    There are 3 or 4 notably compelling scenes, in which we are suddenly able to enjoy a concrete indication of the talent of the filmmakers, but, despite the beauty and technical expertise on display in these rare scenes, they simply do not elevate the heartrate of the viewer or the significance of the story. A vampire confronts some people, who confront other people, who overcome confusion and confront the vampire, who continues to do vampire stuff. Rather than gasping in catharsis or longing for a special interspecies emotional payoff, the viewer is left to think, “Oh, yeah, that’s because she’s a vampire. I wonder what she’s going to do now. Is it over yet?”**

    There was nothing original in this movie except that the main vampire is a young female and that everything moves at a deliberate pace ostensibly resembling real time. Moving at real time is bloody boring for 110 minutes, in this case.

    Incidentally, I am often berated for my writing style and for what appears to some to be pedantry. I am jealous of Vern’s writing style. I enjoy it much & wish I could emulate it.

  33. Jareth Cutestory

    March 13th, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    Mouth: Thanks for taking the time to print that out. I think I now have a better idea where you’re coming from. I can’t really argue against your point that LET THE RIGHT ONE IN fails to bring anything new to the table, at least in terms of the abilities and behaviour of the creatures. I’m glad you could appreciate the art of the swimming pool scene. I know some folks who were pissed off by that.

    Is it safe to say that you’re not much of a fan of Dreyer’s or Murnau’s take on vampires? Or does the more gothic take on the legend in these earlier films work better for you than the suburban arthouse version of LTROI?

    Note to self: Don’t recommend GOODBYE DRAGON INN to Mouth.

  34. My main problem with Let The Right One In was that it was techincally the typical “My first summer/winter of love” story, but with a forced vampire gimmick that leads to nowhere. And it all moves so damn slow. Don’t get me wrong, I got no problem with slow moving films, but you have to earn the right to use a slow tempo! If they had come up with a better payoff for all that what happened before, I wouldn’t mind, but to me it felt like someone had the idea of the swimming pool scene first and then tried to build a half-assed movie around it.
    Sorry, but when it comes to supernatural dramas with kids, I prefer The Devil’s Backbone.

  35. My nutshell critique of Let The Right One In would simply be that it really wasn’t that interesting. There were good moments – showing the vampire girl puking after trying one little piece of candy was an effective way of driving home that she can *only* drink blood, and the sequence where she enters uninvited was pretty badass – but I just never really felt engaged by the movie. Maybe that was the movie’s fault or maybe it was mine. But simply put, it didn’t do much for me.

    In other news: Vern, I haven’t watched The Wire either. So don’t feel bad.

  36. Oh yeah, and one other thing. Everyone raves about the swimming pool sequence, but I call bullshit on it. You’re telling me that (SPOILERS) the *entire time* this horrific vampire slaughter is going on, with kids being dragged through the water and everything, that the one bully kept holding Oskar underwater? He didn’t stop and go, “Oh fuck, my brother and his friends are getting killed, I should release this kid’s hair?” Yes, his hand is revealed to be severed at the end and it floats down, but that’s at the end – unless you’re telling me the hand got severed first and then it didn’t actually fall into the pool for another 45 seconds?

    I’m sure someone will counter that I’m missing the point, but I gotta play the old “it took me out of the movie” card. I’m partly with CJ on this one – to me it felt like they came up with the idea of shooting it that way and then deliberately ignored the simple fact that the bully would let go, or that Oskar would feel his hand release when the attack began, or that Oskar would feel the pressure on his head decrease when the kid got killed, or *anything* that would prevent them from shooting it the way they initially thought of – all the things that, consequently, took me out of the film. It was a clever idea for a sequence and I admired it from a technical level, but that didn’t change that it (in my opinion) hurt the telling of the story. So, basically, I don’t love that sequence.

  37. Check out Paul Greengrass’ BLOODY SUNDAY, Vern. It’s been a while since I saw it, but I’m pretty sure there’s no vampires in it.

  38. TheGreenManalishi

    March 14th, 2010 at 7:57 am

    DMS is one of my favourite films. I don’t understand how you find the ending “convoluted and ludicrous” though, it made perfect sense to me. All through the film you can tell that Richard’s not all there so for his brother to not be there at all, works.

  39. Evening Gang

    I had been enjoying this Site very much…

    …until some retard actually recommended Dead Snow!!!

    Based on the credentials of the Vern-Crowd i watched it, and couldn’t
    believe what a waste of pig snort that piece of eurotrash was.

    Don’t go near that oozing pile of generic zombie horror, lifes short enough as it is!

  40. Jareth Cutestory

    March 14th, 2010 at 8:50 am

    Daniel Strange: A guy I know explained the pool scene in LET THE RIGHT ONE IN like this (SPOILERS): The kid who was holding onto the protagonist’s head, when confronted with the awesome power of the vampire, decided that either a.) his only hope to stop the vampire was to kill the kid in the pool, or b.) he knew he was going to die he might as well take the kid with him, or c.) he was in shock, or d.) it all happened really fast.

    The pool scene didn’t take me out of the movie; I didn’t particularly care that it might not make sense. The cats scene, on the other hand, took me out; something about the effects made it look like a low rent GRUDGE movie. The film is flawed, but overall I like it a lot. Of course, Coppola’s DRACULA is too ornate and melodramatic for my tastes, and I really dislike aristocratic/rock star vampires in stuff like Anne Rice/UNDERWORLD/BLADE, so I appreciate the restraint and understatement of LET THE RIGHT ONE IN.

  41. @SurfiNerd- I sir am that retard and I stand by that recommendation.

    Dead Snow is one of the few recent films that wears it’s homages on it’s sleeve proudly. Whats’s not to like? It’s got Nazis, zombies,chainsaws,european death metal, scythe fights, people hanging off of cliffs hanging onto large intestines, peoples heads being ripped in half,surgery with duct tape. And it’s all done in a very Sam Raimi/Peter Jackson inspired way of not taking itself too seriously. And the effects are good, seriously some of the best in recent memory. I like good looking gore and blood in my horror films and that movie delivered.

    But around here we usually back up our critiques with at least a somewhat substantive explanation, other than calling it euro trash.Did you not like the acting? The pacing? Was the gore too over-the-top? I’m curious what what so detestable to you.

  42. I second the love for This Is England. Shane Meadows’ best film and one of the best British films of the new millenium.

  43. Oy, Goodbye Dragon Inn, what one film critic called “The Taiwanese film equivalent of watching paint dry” in his headline. Erik Lundegaard, the critic, ends his review by saying, “Tsai is hugely popular with film critics, I believe, in part because film critics actually have something to do while watching his films. While the girl is limping down the hallway, we can take notes. Regular theatergoers? They can only watch helplessly. I suppose the hope is that by watching Tsai’s films, drop by drop, wisdom comes. It does, but the wisdom is shallow, bleak and one-sided.” Yup. We don’t mind watching slow-paced films, but it’d better have something worthwhile going on as a payoff or philosophical statement.

    Jareth C., Dreyer is on another level, but I wish his stuff had been preserved better. Not that he needs to break the space-time continuum & improve his work to meet some absurd artificial standard we hold today, but’s staggering to imagine what he might have done with bigger budgets and modern technology. {{ http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7559089296688839249# }}if you’re interested in the 1932 film & have 75 minutes to spare. Murnau’s Nosferatu is a classic, too, but I don’t revisit it for fun.

    Maybe I’m alone on Coppola’s Dracula, but I still think it’s just phenomenal and worthy of rewatching at least every few months. The opening sequence is the best renunciation of God ever filmed, with the father’s overreliance on physics & the computer in Dekalog 1 being a distant 2nd.

    Now I’m about to watch Dead Snow on NetFlix streaming, Allah help me.

  44. I thought Coppola’s DRACULA was pretty good.

    We really hold Coppola to this ridiculous standard that anything below say THE GODFATHER is rubbish. Yet after APOCALYPSE NOW, he did do a handful of good movies. THE OUTSIDERS, RUMBLE FISH, TUCKER, PEGGY SUE, and even THE RAINMAKER. Shit I even liked (ok maybe more liked the attitutde than execution) YOUTH WITHOUT YOUTH.

    None of them are great movies per say, but then again there is a price for making four certified masterpieces within the span of 7 years. And the last one giving you a nervous breakdown.

  45. Dear Mr. Diesel eh.. Boy
    … i had just wasted 87 min. of my life, when i wrote that reply.
    I was angry and maybe bit too harsh, when called a fellow man a retard.
    So i apolagize for that, but stand by my words concerning that flick.
    The actors, ugly and talentless,the Scares,not scary, the jokes, not funny, and the gore and the fx were pretty lame.

  46. TheGreenMan: I kind of liked the twist you’re referring to. The part I thought was kind of silly was the accident that happened to him. Okay, I guess I gotta go all out SPOILERS here. It was the idea that the villains peer pressured a retarded guy into getting really high and then left him alone with a noose in a castle and he killed himself and now his brother must get revenge. That part I found a little silly. THAT WAS A SPOILER.

  47. I’ll give you that the female lead was indeed pretty ugly. But lame FX? I will point to the scene of Erland getting his head ripped in half as definitive proof that the movie had outstanding effects/gore.

    But to each his own, I appreciate that you at least backed-up your statement with several reasons. I think maybe you had the wrong ideal of what the movie was supposed to be though, and that’s just a fun bloody good movie. How can you not love this finale?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7E8mwNGaKLY

  48. Not to butt into your conversation here but I have to second the bad effects on Dead Snow. Not so much the gore effects which were pretty good, but there was a few scenes that were obviously blue-screened.

    Overall, I thought it was good and I’m glad I saw it, but it’s doubtful that I’ll ever watch it again.

    *SPOILER ALERT*

    The part where the guy cuts his arm off and then gets bit in the dick was pretty funny. I actually felt bad for laughing because it’s almost as if fate personally told that guy to go fuck himself.

    *END SPOILER*

  49. Dead Snow kind of lost me when the fat film nerd (=wearing the obligatory Evil dead t-shirt) gets a blow job from the hot chick, while he’s taking a dump?! I got no problem suspending my disbelief to the point of accepting Dead nazis returning as zombies, but there’s no way i’m buying that!

  50. @Jimbolo-it was a Brain Dead shirt :)

    And it just wasn’t that he was taking a dump, that chick was licking his fingers right after he wiped his ass. And she didn’t blow him, she just fucked him before he ever got up.

  51. I’m not a big fan of Dead Snow either. It’s okay once the carnage starts, but I just can’t stand these horror movies that think that they have to make all the characters unlikeable so we won’t care when they get killed off. I’m not saying I need to have crushes on everybody, but when the characters are supposed to be friends and they don’t even seem to like each other, why would I want to spend 90 minutes with them? It’s like going on a road trip with people you hate.

  52. I always really liked FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA’S FILM OF BRAM STOKER’S NOVEL OF DRACULA: Oldman and Hopkins trying to out-MEGA each other’s performances, Tom Waits, the silhouette battle-field, the exquisite production design, Tom Waits, the terrific poundy-poundy score, Tom Waits… but Jesus Christ on a luminous cross, Keanu Reeves just drowns onscreen.

    Isn’t there a bit where he’s looking out the window at Gary Oldman running up a vertical wall and his voice-over/letter home to Winona Ryder says something (in a horrific attempt at some kind of English accent): “I fear there might be something amiss at Castle Dracula…”

    I want to see it again now.

  53. Conversations about horror movies in horror movies are kind of lame. Why don’t people in movies talk about movies that are out or coming out? I rarely talk about horror movies with my friends because most of them couldn’t give two shits about horror movies.

    I just think it would be more believable if they were talking about Transformers 2 or Avatar or even more believable…cars and sports.

  54. Jareth Cutestory

    March 14th, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    Mouth: I was profoundly moved by GOODBYE DRAGON INN, but it’s a film I can easily see people not liking, even fans of the original DRAGON INN and the more recent remake, or even old repertory theatre junkies like me. In general, Tsai Ming-liang is really an acquired taste.

    In my experience, more people like Coppola’s DRACULA than dislike it, especially around the internet. And I can appreciate what he was trying to do with the film, it’s just that Guy Maddin does something similar much better.

    But hey, anyone who gives props to Dreyer and Murnau is a righteous dude in my books. So good job.

    hamsline: Does it also bother you that so many disco songs are about dancing? And that so many rock songs are about rocking? That’s a pet peeve of mine.

  55. Not really, only because I rarely pay attention to lyrics.

    Talking about horror movies in horror movies don’t really bother me, I just think nine times out of ten the conversations seem unrealistic. The filmmakers may as well cut to a close up of them saying, “HEY! I SAW DAWN OF THE DEAD. THE ORIGINAL. AREN’T I HIP?”

    I guess I just feel embarrassed for the filmmakers more than I’m annoyed by it.

    Tarantino is the worst offender but for reasons I can’t explain when he does it it feels natural
    (Except maybe in Death Proof where the stunt women are fawning over car movies. Then again I don’t know any stunt women so maybe they really do like car movies that much.) so he gets a pass. From me at least.

  56. Deieslboy: Damn, I started writing and then for some reason the word blumpkin popped into my head and before you know it I’d written blow job instead of ride. I think if it had have been a blow job, it would have been even worse.

    Shame, I liked the concept (of the film, not that scene). It would’ve worked much better if they had just played it straight. That self-reflexive bullshit surely must be dead by now. I vote Kevin Williamson as the worst offender with that ‘this is like a Wes Carpenter film’ horseshit from Scream.

  57. Okay, now i got some time to elaborate on my Dead Snow – Hate.
    Mornin’ Dieselboy, you mention in your defense that D.S. is somehow honoring films like Bad Taste, Brain Dead, Evil Dead 1 and 2, but i don’t see it on the screen man.
    Raimi and Jackson have a deep love for every blood drenched frame and crazy idea they put on the screen – they did reinvent our ways to see and put some fresh new spin on the whole game.
    Tommy Wirkola is cut from a entirely different cloth, he’s an untalented Fanboy who’s savy enough, to convince some cynical money grubbing producers, to put his slapdash screenplay into reality, but that’s about the only superpower that guys got.
    Take Alexandre Aja for comparison , sure the two films i saw from that guy (High Tension & The Hills Have Eyes Remake) were both flawed, but his scares were scary, his violence disturbing, and his actors quite good and professional. I have really nothing against you
    D-Boy – but you should really adjust your nightvision, not every flick
    that spills some blood and has some nazi-zombies runnin around for cheap laughs, deserves attention, Shaun of the Dead, Brain Dead, Evil Dead 2 and The Return of the Living Dead (1985) on the other hand do in spades.

  58. Meadows said that something similar happened to him where a group of bullies pressured a friend of his to do something but since they weren’t criminally responsible they got away scot free. DMS was like his cinematic revenge on them. They also drove around in that goofy little Citroen in real life. Man, why do Europeans get all the good cars?

  59. @surfi-I’m no horror fanboy that loves any film spilling copious amounts of blood. The Saw films, for example, do absolutely nothing for me and they are arguably the bloodiest/most graphic series being pumped out now. Rob Zombie’s Halloween’s have buckets of blood as well but I had to watch it in 2 sittings to get through it all(apparently the directors cut I watched is shitier than the theatrical cut though).

    High Tension also has one of the worst twists in movie history as far as I’m concerned.

    And what other Nazi-zombie films are there that you are alluding too. I would like to see them ASAP. I know of a couple that are over 30 years old at this point, and there are probably some super low-budget Troma style ones floating around, but where are these other nazi-zombie films that are professionally and stand up to this one. I’m honestly curious, if this is one of the shittier ones than the others must be amazing.

    It didn’t change my life or redefine the horror genre by any means but come on, they can’t all be Raimis/Jacksons/Carpenters. This guy Wirkola is not so bad, he gets some decent performances out of these actors and shoots the action in a very straight forward manner so I can see what the fuck is happening. There are a few bad green scene shots, the snowmobile comes to mind, but the practical effects are very well done. It’s a fun concept,if somewhat simple, and I’m surprised more people don’t like it. Hmmm…sometimes I’m the advocate for shitty films around here it seems.

    It’s cool you called me a retard though, this is the internet afterall, if you post on any forum long enough it’s bound to happen.

  60. In 30+ years of watching films the one that made me cry the most is DEAD MAN’S SHOES. In fact, I didn’t have a good sob at the movies again until Meadows’ SOMERS TOWN about 4 years later! (THIS IS ENGLAND, I like it, just not as much as the other 2.)

    In terms of what Vern should see next. Well, I saw a terrific little crime picture in Berlin last month called IN THE SHADOWS by Thomas Arslan. Hopefully it might show at the Seattle Film Festival (21 May – 14 June) and Vern can catch it there. It’s unlikely to get a USA release. Think Nimrod Antal’s ARMORED crossed with Patricia Highsmith’s RIPLEY novels and the movies of Christian Petzold and you’ll be somewhere near the mark…

    http://www.theauteurs.com/notebook/posts/1518

  61. Outpost has nazi zombies I believe. Also, there’s a low budget Brit one called The Bunker. What’s the old one, Shock Waves?

  62. Outpost and The Bunker, as noted above, are pretty entertaining Nazi-Zombie movies. Neither is as entertaining as Dead Snow, a kind of Evil Dead-style parody of Nazi-Zombie movies, which, I didn’t realize it was a genre that had reached the stage where it needed to be parodied, but apparently it has because Dead Snow is pretty good. Also, Black Ops has Lance Henriksen AND Nazi Ghosts in it. So that’s probably where you should put your money if you have to choose one.

    The overlooked, underrated horror movie I’m pushing recently, however, is a spottily brilliant little number called Triangle. Just when you think you know where it’s going, turns out you’re wrong. And it has one of the most stunning scenes I’ve seen in any movie, of any budget, in the last few years. Also, The Last Winter, while not as good, is still pretty good. Shoots itself in the foot by revealing the “monster” as a cheap CGI stunt, when the swirling darkness and the endless cold was scary enough without it. But I recommend it in general.

  63. Porkchop Express

    March 14th, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    Thanks man. The first time I write in, a week later my request is reviewed. Now if u could review Takeshi kitano’s dolls, that would be superb. Love Reading your reviews, always get a chuckle. I have other sillier suggestions on the one comment for kikujiro if u have time. Cheers!

  64. A fundamental thing to understand the whole movie is to understand how deeply ingrated is is in christian morality, more specifically catholicism. The movie is set in a very religious part of England, and many people there take their religion as serious as many in the Bible Belt. But the more enlighting thing about the movie is HOW ACCURATE IS IS TO CHRISTIAN DOGMA. specially concerning the morality of revenge.

    Too many movies made since the 80s have fucked up the christian morality of the act of revenge, while at the same time try to seel the avenger hero as doing the christian thing. This movie has no such illusions. By definition alone, the act of revenge is unchristian-like. This is why in movies made until and to the 60s, only villains revenged. And when heroes revenged, they would either fall from grace and became vilalins themselves and would get a death scene, or they would redeem themselves though not going with the revenge in the final moment, of suffer some kind of contrivence after the deed. Or, like in BEN HUR, he would , he finds Jesus after God gives his mother and sister leprosy because he went on the ungodly act of revenge.

    In the 70s, movies became more ambiguous about the act of revenge. Anti-heroes revenged, and the movie showed how ugly the act of revenge was. and to make things even harsher, the movies allowed the anti-hero his revenge, whihc, theologically speaking, ment the anti-hero just earned eternal damnation. He might had put “right to a wrong”, but he gained hell as reward. And the movies revel in that. Revenge might be achievable, but it’s ugly and you lose your soul.

    In the fucking 80s, when illiterate fundies start to take sawy on USA, and because this assholes couldn’t understand the meaning of the bible they read even if it was writen in words as big as barns, it gave riseto this notion that revenge wa snot only desirable, it was even a good thing sponsored by God Himself, as if God was ESSO and revenge the gas he sold on filling stations. The fucking 80s where the decade of revenge. And this movies, and the public that watched them, and worst of all the christians, forgot the one of the main tenent of their faith: that it’s God who judges, not men. It’s to God alone to punish the wicked and it’s for the faithful to endure the harshness of the world and get his just reward in heaven. “To be or not to be” solliloquy in Hamlet is exactly about that, should we endure the wrongs, or should we revenge? But to revenve is to act as if God, and God’s business is god’s business alone. God does not franchise, despiste what the so-called fundie faithfuls believe. At the end of the play, Hamlet dies because he gets his punishment for daring to do what’s God’s business alone, to judge souls.

    This movie, DEAD MAN’S SHOES, is the only, and i mean ONLY revenge movie made in the last 20 years that invokes christian morals and gets it right about the morality of revenge. To see a correct christian interpretation of the act of revenge as according to the tenents of christian morality, you would need to watcha Bergman’s THE VIRGIN SPRING. And that movie allows the revenging father off the hook, as God gives absolution form the revenge with a miracle. But in DEAD MAN’S SHOES, there’s no such reprive.

    Watch DEAD MAN’S SHOES without understanding at least a bit of the christian morality milieu about what makes the fundations of this movie, and you will not “get it”. Nor will you understand why this movie is not just good, but great.

  65. heimp, GM can only makes funtional cars because of OPEL, which is German. Without OPEL, GM might has well closed permantly, because all it’s brands are completly dependent on OPEL’s technological advances, and even the chassis they produce..

  66. The 3% that Vern missed out is just that, the whole chritian morality of revenge thing hat the movie handles exemplary.

  67. Being British I watched Dead Mans Shoes when it first came out. All the press, film makers lower and middle class love everything Shane Meadows does. I personally thought this film was shit. Way overrated and illogical at points considering the people that back his work. For the man above me who wrote the three page essay on “revenge through Christian morality” (or whatever the fuck), not getting it isn’t reallly the issue. Personal taste is. And now I can’t be arsed writing anything else. Glad you enjoyed it though Vern.

  68. My interpretation of the ending –

    SPOILER

    – was that they hung his brother. But it’s been at least a year or more since I’ve seen it and don’t quite remember the specifics of the flashback, if that’s even how it was revealed. But that might have been my brain interpreting a convoluted finale and streamlining in it to make it more palatable.

    END SPOILER, AND POST

  69. Vern —

    (Why am I always at least one review behind in my commenting? Am I a bad commenter? Am I lazy? Or are you just on amphetamines, knockin’ ’em out like you’re Philip K. Dick and the PG&E is due?)

    I agree in principle that it doesn’t make much sense. But the film was so effective that I overlooked this. It worked for me. I remember it vividly after seeing it once, which is rare these days. I’ve seen so many film I usually forget ’em almost immediately. (Also, that suitcase scene was some twisted shit.)

    And actually, the reveal changes everything. Before that, Paddy’s character seems like an evil bastard or a complete psycho. What could these rather pathetic clowns have done to his brother to merit such brutal vengeance? I figured they sexually molested him or something, but even then he’d be going too far. And then we learn what it was. It was a variation of the old SIXTH SENSE twist, but I fell for it. The only other guy making revenge films on this level is (or was) Chan-wook Park. Okay, maybe Q.T., too.

    AsimovLives, that’s a pretty perceptive breakdown of revenge films through the decades. I agree, the Eighties is where we really lost our way. Greed became good, vengeance became complication-free and downright fun. Harry Callahan seemed disgusted at the lengths he had to go to in DIRTY HARRY; by the Eighties, he was begging the bad guys to make his day. Bronson puked in DEATH WISH, but became a Terminator-style killing machine in later installments. (Of course, some of this can be attributed to the typical problems associated with sequels and diminishing returns.) And then there was Arnold with his one-liners.

    Anyway, good conversation.

  70. I have to second the above opinion that Shane Meadows is one of the most important, in fact fuck it, THE most important film-maker working in the UK right now

    It’s a fucking discgrace that he has to struggle to get funding but I guess that’s how it goes – UK film financing is a totally fucked up scene, they’d rather give money to Branagh so he can make yet another movie that no-one will watch than something that regular people will connect with

    What I like about him is there’s an optimism and a sense of pride in his working class characters that you tend not to see in other directors- you look at Ken Loach and all you see is fucking misery. It’s patronising and insulting to working class people that this is all we’re seen as – a bunch of useless twats suffering indignities. Mike Leigh’s the same, condescension masquerading as empathy.

    Meadows’ characters don’t have money but there’s a genuine warmth and believability to them

    Vern, I know people flip out over Dead Man’s Shoes and I can see why but I have to say it’s a lot darker and more cynical than the majority of his films. I recommend you check out some of his others for a more heart-warming experience.

    A Room For Romeo Brass would be my pick – funny and heartfelt with a brilliant performance (again) from Considine. No-one ever mentions it but I absolutely love that film.

    This Is England is also great, a film that Meadows made with a young audience in mind – great soundtrack, great performances and despite some pretty tough scenes, genuinely uplifting.

  71. You told me City of God was on the list 3 years ago :>

  72. Porkchop Express

    March 16th, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    I completely agree with your comment kuryakin. Paddys accent in it is very strange, but a great performance. I have to mention 24/7 and sommers town as being pretty good also. Can anyone tell me if his latest film,(le donk & scor-zay-zee) is any good? Cheers !

  73. Dunno about Le Donk, heard it wasn’t very good to be honest, just him and Paddy Considine knocking about and improvising dialogue

    sounds fine to me but apparently not his best

  74. AsimovLives – I don’t usually go for these bible laden posts on the internets but you make some really interesting points about film, story and morality. You’ve caused me to see DEAD MAN’S SHOES with a new perspective (of course, I already loved it, so don’t go thinkin’ I’m some born again DMS lover). I think a great illustration of the points you make concerning film audiences’ changing tastes in revenge fantasy is the change in tone between FIRST BLOOD and FIRST BLOOD PART II.

  75. Actually, now that I mention it, I remembered that there were a number of elements in DEAD MAN’S SHOES that reminded me of FIRST BLOOD. Specifically, when Considine walks into town wearing that green army jacket with a duffel over his shoulder. Right out of FB. Both Great Fucking Movies.

  76. The ending of DEAD MAN’S SHOES is actually one of the elements that elevate, not only the movie itself, but the main character. Throughout the movie, we see him wreck vengence, and using Bible to justify. But in the end, we see that he sees himself as much a sinner as the peope who did the evil deed. That’s why in the ending he does what he does, and forces the hand of the last of the criminals, and the one who actually shows true regret. And theologically speaking, he’s right. He does deserve the same fate as the wrongdoers, because as a revenger, he is as bad as them. Morality speaking, he who kills is in the wrong, specially if he does as punishement and for revenge. It’s for God only to punish the wicked.

    And by the way, i’m an atheist. But that doesn’t mean i have to be ignorant of all this theological business. And more important, it impresses me that a movie, specially a revenge movie, gets the theology right, instead of all those recent revenge movies in which God is there to legimitise the type of actions which the very same theology condemns.

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