Neds

“Nobody loves me, everybody hates me, I think i’ll go eat worms”

Review by Lewis Goodall

Hes got the whoooole world, in his hands. Hes got the whole wide world, in his hands. Hes got the whoooole world, in his hands. Hes got the world world in his hands.
So god had the whole world and made beautiful places like Bora Bora and Switzerland but also decided to make Scotland??? Doesn’t make sense to me.

Aside from suggesting that Scotland is an ugly place, I’m also here to review Neds so let’s get to that. Neds (2010), Written and Directed by Peter Mullan, is the Scottish tale of a young man, John McGill (Conor McCarron). John is a wee little lad whose top of his class. Showing such great potential with his intellect, he slowly works his way up to being in the top class in school with all the other brainy Scottish kids. Living in a home with a drunk, abusive father, a good for nothing brother and a mum whose just kind of there, John finds companionship through a group of delinquents. As john hangs out with his new friends, he slowly self destructs into a lifestyle of violence and crime.

I’ve mentioned enough times that this is in fact a Scottish film filled with Scottish people, a lot of which are newcomers to the acting scene which was actually quite impressive. The Scottish accents on pretty much everyone in the film was so heavy that I was genuinely considering putting on the subtitles because I had absolutely no idea what they were saying. Apart from maybe the odd cuss word I could work out, a lot of it was so heavy I had to just smile and give along with it. From the dialogue I picked it, the actors within the film all felt very real and gritty. I’ve said it before but I just feel that English films just have that extra bit of realism that you don’t really get in American films, and this film certainly follows that theme with depicting a harsh, 1970’s version of Scotland.

Specifically within this town is John like I’ve mentioned. Luckily his accent isn’t too heavy so you can keep up with what he says and does but he plays his part wonderfully to really convey this kids struggle with choosing whether to be a grade A student or a grade A youth. John slowly descends into a life of throwing bottles at policeman with the help of his friends. All his friends are bad influences but only because they all follow Benny who is actually John’s brother. John looks to follow in the footsteps of his brother and looks to become someone who is feared by all the rival gangs in the local area. John gets no love from his teachers at school, his parents at home so naturally his love comes from his gang and transforms him. You get it by now, good guy turns bad.

It’s pretty clear that it’s his friends that are the Influence for the decisions that John makes to change him from this perfect child but a lot of the decisions that John makes seem very out of place and out of nowhere. He changes very quickly from a man that wouldn’t say boo to a goose to a man that’ll rob a kid and stab someone with a knife they stole. It seemed to me that a lot of the decisions that John made seemed without purpose. There’s no obvious motive that would make him change as much as he did. A lot of what he does is to fit in with his gang but there are some decisions that seem WAY over the top of for the situation. The guy just turns into a massive unlikable prick to the point where I didn’t really mind what happened to him and wasn’t really hoping for his redemption. I wont spoil the end but there is a moment which to me seemed like a major turning point for John but then it all suddenly changes again for no reason and just made a lot of it seem questionable and confused me about who this John character is meant to be. Maybe at the same time that’s the whole point, were discovering who John truly is at the same time John is GAAAAAAASP, I’VE CRACKED IT!! also not really because the character development still feels all over the place to me.

Although there was a lot of decisions of his I didn’t quite understand, I did go along with then and the way each decision is played out does end up with some gruesome moments. One in particular that I wasn’t expecting at all and changed the whole tone of the film in an instant which is really enjoyed. A lot of the violence depicted In the film wasn’t over the top and felt very real which was fantastic and really did create some unpredictable moments. Let’s be honest, they’re Scottish, of course they’re going to be unpredictable.

Overall I did enjoy my trip into 1970’s Scotland. There wasn’t really anything that blew my wee mind and the story felt very much as though it was a Scottish remake of ‘This Is England’, but there were some genuinely shocking moments that helped transform a cute ginger kid into a twat ginger man.

7 Jesus Scuffles out of 10

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