'Dead Man's Shoes' Review By Nicholaus XX

You, you were supposed to be a monster - now I'm the f*cking beast.
  • Story
  • Acting
  • Directing
  • Visuals
"Dead Man's Shoes" had potential, and that potential is witnessed at first-glance. Richard(Paddy Considine) is bent on revenge, after the humiliation and torment of his mentally disabled brother, Anthony(Toby Kebbell), is brought to his attention. And once the tormentors, (no-named actors), catch drift of the brothers' presence, a story of vengeance and psychological redemption unfolds before our very eyes.

An independent film that dwells on revenge, torment, and psychological elements is bound to catch the attention of someone looking for an intriguing watch. Unfortunately, "Dead Man's Shoes" doesn't live up to the premise. The acting is one of the primary flaws. It's unbelievable, laughable, and most of all; poorly emulated. The cast seems to be constructed of friends who thought that they could make a movie, out of the blue, without any prior lessons or experience.

And then there's the direction - the works of an amateur. As a spectator, we're obliged to presume that the director can coherently splice scenes together seamlessly, without taking us out of the experience. With "Dead Man's Shoes", that's not the case. The editing, direction, and cinematography fall prey to the low-budget and incompetent crew.

The film juggles several different elements in it's simple, but intriguing plot. Some are executed better than others, especially during the last-act. And that's another thing I have an issue with; "Dead Man's Shoes" is better than some of it's parts, and sporadically shows actual effort. Most of the time, the actors can't act, but each of them have a moment of believability. But, it's ultimately not enough to compensate for the previous behavior. However, there are two noteworthy actors among the casts, and they go by the name of Neil Bell and Toby Kebbell. Both actors actually offer good performances, but they're screen time is brought to a minimal.

"Dead Man's Shoes" unevenly features scenes of potential, mainly played out through the last act. The scenes of violence, abuse, and terror are the only things that hold the film back from being completely forgettable. Watching the villains of the movie belittle and humiliate the mentally-challenged brother is disturbing, and downright uncomfortable. The film embraces it's mature elements, but doesn't quite grasp them like it should. The make-up and practical effects for the more vicious scenes were done in an admirable, but amateurish fashion.

Towards the end, there's a "revelation" that adds clarity to all of the carnage and brutality that took place. And boy, does it help the overall quality of the film. The revelation works; it's effective, eye-opening, and something we should've seen all along. This is "Dead Man's Shoes" strongest element.

Potential; something "Dead Man's Shoes" had. "Dead Man's Shoes" has the story of just about every Hollywood-revenge flick before it. The foundation is what separates it from the flock. It's different, but screams debut. Heartfelt, but poorly done. It's a contradiction to just about everything it gets right. In a single scene, "Dead Man's Shoes" shows us it's true potential, and in that scene, we realize what it 'could've' been. Instead, it settled for less.

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Comments (27)

  1. Nicholaus XX

    @mr-k -- Ha, that's funny; I was reading this review the same day you commented. The director of this, Shane Meadows, also directed "This Is England", and I must say - it's worth a watch. Every merit in that film is superior to this, and it's one of the most entertaining, emotionally-compelling movies I've ever seen.

    Watch it as soon as possible!

    2 years agoby @XxNickTheFilmCriticXxFlag

  2. Mr.K

    @XxNickTheFilmCriticXx Nice review. Shame that it didn't live up to it's potential though cause it would have been a breath of fresh air for the genre like Oldboy. Next time I guess.

    2 years agoby @mr-kFlag

  3. Zak Lee Ferguson

    I'm both quite shocked and aghast that you didn't think highly of this- I myself thought it had potential it did divide its emotions a bit and it seamlessly does pitfall and falls on its face but deep at heart its structurally and emotionally compelling :) nice intriguing read..

    2 years agoby @Zak-Lee-FergusonFlag

  4. Jay.A.Ottley

    @XxNickTheFilmCriticXx Hey dude I can find your first review quite easily by searching the film, but for some reason it's not appearing on the review panel on the right hand side

    2 years agoby @jayaottleyFlag

  5. Nicholaus XX

    @mcleve02 -- Not angry, more along the lines of baffled. In my opinion, it's one of my best reviews. Behind "The Fly", and maybe this.

    2 years agoby @XxNickTheFilmCriticXxFlag


    @XxNickTheFilmCriticXx Yeah, which really sucks... of course my first review on here was for Batman Begins back when it first came into theaters! Woo... I've been here a long time... It's not very well written, so I personally wouldn't care, but yeah if you actually put heart into your words, as I assume you did, then I would be pretty angry with movieweb at the moment

    2 years agoby @mcleve02Flag

  7. Nicholaus XX

    @mcleve02 -- Guess it's only plaguing a couple of people.

    2 years agoby @XxNickTheFilmCriticXxFlag


    @XxNickTheFilmCriticXx Yeah man... mine is there

    2 years agoby @mcleve02Flag


    @XxNickTheFilmCriticXx I will go and check... I know this happened to @Salemwolf711 as well...

    2 years agoby @mcleve02Flag

  10. Nicholaus XX

    @mcleve02 -- Agreed. Hm, that's odd. Can you see your first-review?

    2 years agoby @XxNickTheFilmCriticXxFlag


    @XxNickTheFilmCriticXx And it shows me that Pan's Labyrinth is your first review...

    2 years agoby @mcleve02Flag


    @XxNickTheFilmCriticXx Yeah... the story definitely had potential, but the over execution was just god awful...

    2 years agoby @mcleve02Flag

  13. Nicholaus XX

    @mcleve02 -- Comparatively, I was quite generous.

    @bawnian-dexeus@thedude-abides@jayaottley -- I can't see my first-review on the site, "The House of The Devil". Is it just me, or is the error active on both sides?

    2 years agoby @XxNickTheFilmCriticXxFlag


    @XxNickTheFilmCriticXx I haven't actually rated it on this site yet, but I would give it 2 stars... maybe 1.5...

    2 years agoby @mcleve02Flag

  15. Nicholaus XX

    @mcleve02 -- Yeah, I thrive on seeing every film in my path, whenever I get the time. What did you rate this?

    2 years agoby @XxNickTheFilmCriticXxFlag


    @XxNickTheFilmCriticXx Since you're like the one of the only people on here who actually have a brain who have seen these films, besides myself of course!

    2 years agoby @mcleve02Flag


    @XxNickTheFilmCriticXx Of course man... I feel like we have talked about this film somewhere before... ;)

    2 years agoby @mcleve02Flag


    @XxNickTheFilmCriticXx Nice review man!

    2 years agoby @mcleve02Flag

  19. Nicholaus XX

    @jayaottley -- Ha ha, thanks. The film had heart, but the amateur execution really ruined anything the film had going for it. When it comes to revenge flicks, I prefer "Kill Bill: Volume 1", and "I Saw The Devil".

    2 years agoby @XxNickTheFilmCriticXxFlag

  20. Jay.A.Ottley

    @XxNickTheFilmCriticXx Good review dude. I love this film and it's one of my favs and well welcome back :)

    @thedude-abides Give it a shot, it's a brilliant film by Shane Meadows & Paddy Considine

    2 years agoby @jayaottleyFlag

  21. Nicholaus XX

    @bawnian-dexeus -- Much appreciated. Glad to be back.

    @thedude-abides -- Thanks, man!

    2 years agoby @XxNickTheFilmCriticXxFlag

  22. thedude-abides

    @XxNickTheFilmCriticXx Excellent review, man. Never heard of this one, and for good reason, apparently. Hopefully this is the first of many more reviews to come.

    2 years agoby @thedude-abidesFlag

  23. Bawnian©-Dexeus

    Welcome back :)

    2 years agoby @bawnian-dexeusFlag

  24. Nicholaus XX

    Sketchy, but a hopeful return at reviewing.

    2 years agoby @XxNickTheFilmCriticXxFlag