4 March 2008 | Spikeopath
Alienation and the loner!
Shane Meadows is fast becoming one of the finest directors to come out of England, his films have such an earthy quality to them it's very hard to imagine that any Englishman can not find one film from his output that they can't identify with. Be it thematically or character wise. Meadows is the man from the street laying out his stories with honesty and gusto awareness. Whether Meadows will ever break out and be a hit outside of the British Isles is highly debatable, his Dead Man's Shoes from 2004 was well received away from his home shores, but you would be hard pressed to find anyone in American multiplexes (for example purposes only) who could tell you who he is, which for a director who has his finger firmly on the pulse of characterisation, that is a crying shame.
A Room For Romeo Brass is the tale of two teenage boys who during a fight with some bullies meet gangly loner Morell, as Morell starts to take an unhealthy obsession with Romeo's sister, their friendship is pulled apart, but this is merely the start of Morell's impact as he is about to explode into both of the boys already fractured families.
That's all you need to know really, for there is no more to tell, and this is one of Meadows's main strengths, there are no hidden agendas, no allegories of wars, this is just an everyday English housing estate with two families awash with everyday characters. Just how often do you see a loner in your neighbourhood? They are there, are they all like Morell? Well it may be best not to find out eh?
Paddy Considine makes his film debut here (thankfully he is now a name across the waters), and his turn as Morell is as scary as it is sad. Anyone who was impressed with his turn as the vengeful Richard in Dead Man's Shoes will be well rewarded here. A young Andrew Shim as Romeo grabs the role with sizzling vitality, a character calling for strength of nature whilst layering in a heartfelt slant that the story benefits from. I must mention big Frankie Harper (Dog in Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels), playing Romeo's estranged father, he gets it absolutely note perfect and I was delighted to see Meadows give him the film's crowning moment.
A film that opens with The Specials and closes with The Stone Roses should always appeal to an English heart, but lets get Shane Meadows' work out there to the masses, for here is a man who even gives an end credit mention for the man who turned on the generators, a man making films for the people, about the people in our midsts. 8/10