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UK 1999
Directed by
Shane Meadows
90 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Room For Romeo Brass, A

Shane Meadows heads straight into Mike Leigh territory with this well-crafted, low-key film about a couple of English suburban working (which usually means that they are not working) class boys and their families. Co-written by the director with Paul Fraser, who had also collaborated with Meadows on his previous and first film, Twenty Four Seven (1998), it introduces us to the up-and-down lives of twelve-year-olds Romeo Brass (Andrew Shim, who would later appear in Meadows' This Is England) and Gavin Woolley (Ben Marshall), next-door neighbours and best friends.

Meadows captures well the emotional barrenness and borderline abusiveness of mundane English society, but rather than dwelling on what to an outsider may seem a near-tragic state of affairs, he instead opts to assuage it with laughter. The two aspects come together in the character of Morell (Paddy Considine), an unemployed man in his late 20s who initially appears to be a harmless eccentric but turns out to be a nasty piece of work.

With a credible script and strong performances from the entire cast (although Bob Hoskins gets a prominent credit he is a peripheral character) this is solid, pleasantly sentimental film about the joys and sorrows of growing up.




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