Dead Man’s Shoes is a psychological revenge thriller, co-written and directed by the toast of the British critical community, Shane Meadows. Writing with Paul Fraser and Paddy Considine, who also stars, the film focuses on the return to a small northern town of an ex-soldier who reappears after his little brother is humiliated by a group of local drug dealers. The film opens with little back story and reveals itself through the use of grainy, black and white flashbacks, building a picture of the events which lead up to the current plot as it progresses in ever more violent and sadistic ways. It saves its biggest and best reveal until close to the conclusion in a feat of wonderful storytelling which put a delicious cherry on top of an already appealing cinematic cake.
Although Shane Meadows is considered to be one of the brightest talents in UK cinema, I’ve never really found myself that blown away by his films. I can appreciate his style and especially the way in which he gets his films made but they’ve never done anything for me. This changed with Dead Man’s Shoes and instantly became my favourite film from a director I hadn’t really got until now. Not only do I think it’s one of Meadows’ best but I’m struggling to think of a better independent British film from the past decade too.