- Dead Man's Shoes (2004 film)
Dead Man's Shoes
UK DVD cover
Directed by Shane Meadows Produced by Mark Herbert
Written by Shane Meadows
Starring Paddy Considine
Music by Aphex Twin Cinematography Danny Cohen Editing by Celia Haining
Studio Warp Films
Big Arty Productions
Distributed by Optimum Releasing Release date(s) 1 October 2004 Running time 86 minutes Country United Kingdom Language English Budget £723,000 Box office £101,186
The story details the return of Richard (Paddy Considine), from somewhere as yet unknown, to his small home town of Matlock, Derbyshire in the Peak District, England. Richard and his younger, mentally impaired brother Anthony, camp at an abandoned farm near the town, their reminiscences of childhood and flashbacks through old home video footage emphasizing the bond between them. Their reminiscence is intermittently broken by flashbacks of Anthony's abuse by an unknown group of men and Richard's subsequent revenge. In the opening line of the film, Richard narrates "God will forgive them. He'll forgive them and allow them into Heaven. I can't live with that."
This revenge begins when Richard and Anthony are sitting in a pool hall. Richard is watching a local thug (Herbie) deal drugs. Herbie realizes Richard staring at him and confronts him, to be shocked at Richard's angry response. Herbie quietly backs away and leaves. Richard follows Herbie to the building from which the gang's boss, Sonny, runs his drug business. With Sonny, he swaps his drugs money for another batch of drugs. As he leaves the building, he is confronted by Richard who apologizes profusely for his rude behaviour. A confused Herbie accepts his apology and runs away, terrified. That night, Herbie and friends Soz and Tuff are in a flat taking drugs. He tells them about the man in the pool hall and states he thinks he might be Anthony's brother, who has been away serving in the Army. The men are visibly shaken when this is said. When Herbie leaves he sees a man in an army gas mask banging on the front door of the block. Soz and Tuff run outside but the man is nowhere to be seen. When they go back in their flat they discover Richard has ransacked it, stolen the drugs and spray painted threats on the walls. The next day the thugs visit Sonny to explain where the drugs went. When they meet, Sonny has had his face painted but doesn't realize. The 2 other gang members arrive during this time and they have had their hair and clothes painted as well. They all suspect one another of playing games until Herbie states that the man he saw in the pool hall is Richard, Anthony's brother. All of the gang become silent as they realize that Richard is back in town. They sit in silence, their amazed faces interspersed with flashbacks of how they mistreated Richard's younger retarded brother, particularly one flashback where Sonny tells an inebriated Anthony that his brother left to join the army because he was so ashamed of having a mentally disabled brother. The men decide that they must find Richard and confront him together, there being safety in numbers. They encounter him whilst driving in their Citroën 2CV. Sonny confronts Richard and tries to intimidate him. It doesn't work and Richard explains how he toyed with the idea of cutting Sonny's throat while he painted his face the previous night. He makes it clear that he is not scared of any of them and invites them to come and find him at the old farm where he is staying. The gang leaves with Sonny visibly concerned at Richard's apparent lack of fear.
Things soon turn nasty that evening as Richard sneaks into a house where the gang are hiding out and playing cards. He brutally kills one of the members with an axe, using the dead man's blood to scribble the words "One Down" on the wall. Sonny decides that they should shoot Richard. The next morning, they take their car and go to the farm where Richard is staying with Anthony. Sending in Big Al (one of their members) to draw Richard out, Sonny prepares to shoot him with a rifle and their only bullet. However, he misses and kills Al. With no bullets remaining in the rifle they retreat and return back to town, whilst Richard smiles.
The surviving members return to a local petrol station where Tuff runs off, scared of Richard's revenge. The car can't start, so the remaining three decide to walk back to town. When they arrive at Sonny's house, they arm themselves and search the place, expecting Richard to be there. They do not find him, despite the fact that he is hiding in the kitchen pantry. While they are upstairs Richard laces their kettle with a cocktail of the drugs he took from the gang earlier in the film. The three men become completely intoxicated a few hours later and Richard reappears to kill them one by one. He toys with them, dancing and joking. He drags the inebriated Sonny into the kitchen, puts a plastic bag over his head and shoots him atop the head. Next, kills Soz with an upward palm strike, seemingly sending the bone of the nose into the brain. Finally he sits with Herbie and offers to let him live if he discloses the whereabouts of the final original gang member, who long since left the gang and moved away from town. He brings in a suitcase containing the halved body of Tuff, who previously ran from the petrol station when the transmission broke in the car, to scare Herbie. Herbie tells him where the other man is and Richard hugs him, before stabbing him.
The next day, Richard arrives in a nearby town where the final gang member, Mark, lives. On a suburban street, two boys arrive home to their mother, with a gas mask and a knife claiming a soldier who knew their dad gave it to them. Mark takes the kids in the car to find this man and when he does, Richard, waiting outside in the bushes, arrives at the house. He talks with the children's mother and asks her to let her husband know that he is Richard, Anthony's brother. When Mark returns home to a worried wife, she explains the conversation to her husband. Terrified, he tells her, portrayed via flashback, how the gang abused Anthony's mental disability: Forcing him to take drugs with them, Sonny trying to force Anthony to perform oral sex on him (Anthony is hit over the head with a pan when he refuses), subjecting him to beatings and encouraging him to have sex with a female hanger-on to the gang. The abuse culminated with them pretending to hang him at a local ruined castle whilst he was high on acid. This final episode of abuse culminates with Anthony actually hanging himself after his 'friends' run off. It then becomes clear that Richard has been alone the whole time.
The next morning, Richard sneaks into the Mark's house and takes him hostage using a knife. He makes him drive to the same ruined building where Anthony hanged himself and demands he tell him his part in what happened. Mark explains how his fault was in not stopping the abuse. Richard admits to having been ashamed of his own brother's disability; this links to an earlier scene where he sits with the hallucination of his brother and appears upset when Anthony tells him that everyone other than Richard held his hand when they were children. Richard, seemingly battling with his own demons and regret, realizes that Mark is not the monster he expected and confesses to his crimes against the other men. He tells the terrified Mark how he now feels like the monster and that he simply wants to lie down with his brother. Richard gives the knife to Mark and demands that he kill him lest he continue his monstrous ways. Mark refuses but Richard clasps his hands and pulls him toward him, as he does so the sobbing man stabs Richard, as requested. Distraught and covered in blood, Mark leaves the ruin, stumbling away like the monster Richard expected him to be. The film ends with the camera panning across the beautiful Peak district landscape.
- Paddy Considine as Richard
- Toby Kebbell as Anthony
- Gary Stretch as Sonny
- Emily Aston as Patti
- Neil Bell as Soz
- Jo Hartley as Jo
- Seamus O'Neil as Big Al
- Stuart Wolfenden as Herbie
- Paul Sadot as Tuff
- Paul Hurstfield as Mark
- George Newton as Gypsy John
- Craig Considine as Craig
- Matt Considine as Matt
- Andrew Shim as Elvis
Dead Man's Shoes Soundtrack album by various artists Released 4 October 2004 Length 77:51 Label Warp
The soundtrack album was released by Warp Records in October 2004.
- Smog – "Vessel in Vain"
- Calexico – "Untitled II"
- Calexico – "Untitled III"
- Adem – "Statued"
- Calexico – "Ritual Road Map"
- Laurent Garnier – "Forgotten Thoughts"
- The Earlies – "Morning Wonder"
- Richard Hawley – "Steel 2"
- Clayhill – "Afterlight"
- Calexico – "Crooked Road and the Briar"
- Lucky Dragons – "Heartbreaker"
- Gravenhurst – "The Diver"
- Cul de Sac – "I Remember Nothing More"
- P.G. Six – "The Fallen Leaves That Jewel the Ground"
- Amor Belhom Duo BC – "Pluie Sans Nuages"
- Aphex Twin – "Nanou 2"
- M. Ward – "Dead Man"
- DM & Jemini – ""The Only One"
Tracks that appeared in the film but not on the soundtrack album include "Monkey Hair Hide" by The Leisure Society, "A King at Night" by Bonnie "Prince" Billy, "De Profundis" by Arvo Pärt, "Let My Prayer Arise" by the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, "Chinese Water Python" by Robyn Hitchcock and "Sunny Days" by Position Normal
The film was ranked number 180 in Empire magazine's "201 Greatest Movies Of All Time" feature in the March 2006 issue. It also made other appearances in the magazine's 2008 list of the 500 greatest movies of all time where it was ranked at number 462  and in October 2011 where it came 27th in the "100 Best British Films Ever" 
Paddy Considine won "Best British Actor" at the 2005 Empire Awards, beating, amongst others, Simon Pegg for Shaun of the Dead and Daniel Craig for Layer Cake. Toby Kebbell was nominated for the Most Promising Newcomer at the British Independent Film Awards.
- Dead Man's Shoes at the Internet Movie Database
- Radio Interview with Shane Meadows from FBi 94.5 Sydney Australia
Films directed by Shane Meadows 1990sSmall Time (1996) · Twenty Four Seven (1997) · A Room for Romeo Brass (1999) 2000s Short Films
Where's the Money, Ronnie? (1996) · Three Tears for Jimmy Prophet (1997) · Northern Soul (2004) · The Stairwell (2005)
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