Tag Archives: that was me

‘There’s Blood on my hands from what you made me do.’ – Dead Man’s Shoes

Good Friday in Central London. Some people are are well into Bank Holiday drinking mode, namely downing booze as though it’s about to be banned. In Covent Garden, a young bloke wants to get a call and response thing going on, ‘When I say “chicken” you say “legs”!’ A slurred voiced joins in from across the piazza. ‘Chicken!’ ‘Legs!’ ‘Chicken!’ ‘Legs!’ All of this would be charmingly silly. Except I’ve just re-watched Shane Meadow’s splendid 2004 film Dead Man’s Shoes at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. So there’s a bit of an edge to the jollity.

‘Dance at my party!’ Richard (Paddy Considine – super intense yet also believable – he could be a real bloke brimming with anger in the pub, perhaps glancing satirically at the ‘chicken legs’ lads whilst supping a pint) demands, as the targets of his vengence as they flop about the room under the influence of spiked tea. He’s a former soldier, back in his small hometown to track down the fellas who mistreated his mentally handicapped brother.

It’s a Western, basically. Richard is the British of the Man With No Name. What the gang have done is horrific, but Richard finds it impossible to destroy them without turning into a ‘monster’.

Dead Man’s Shoes is an experience. It shook me up when I first saw it and seeing it again (with a live soundtrack, no less) on a big screen made my brain ache. In a good way.

The following clip is a 2008 live version of Vessel in Vain, the song that plays over the film’s opening credits, The soundtrack to DSM is marvellous – Americana really works over scenes of violence in the damp English Countryside.

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