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Go/ A Room for Romeo Brass. FilmFour/BBC1

GO (1999) Directed by Doug Liman.

Lock Stock meets Pulp Fiction with a bit of Intermission thrown in, with a chaotic car chase and a plate of dodgy shrimps to complete the flavour of this excellent fast moving and tight offering from Bourne…. director Doug Liman.

A sassy check out girl sees the opportunity to make a fast buck dealing ecstasy, but her naivety allied to supreme bad luck mean that things do not go to plan. That’s putting it mildly…

Comparisons to Pulp Fiction are obvious as we see three interwoven yet discrete stories which are told in separation coming together in an explosive conclusion, but that’s doing a disservice to a cleverly written film which marries break neck pace with cute observational humour.

Katie Holmes plays second fiddle to an excellent performance from Sarah Polley who reminds me of Claire in Six Feet Under, with her dead pan reactions to extraordinary situations. She even looks like her and I wonder if the actor gained some inspiration from this performance.

A Room For Romeo Brass. (1999) Directed by Shane Meadows

The friendship of two twelve year old boys is put to the test when they meet twenty something misfit Morell, played brilliantly by Dead Men’s Shoes star Paddy Consadine.

Much of Shane Meadows work is self confessed auto biography, and as in his 2007 tour de force This Is England we are transported to English Council Estate dysfunctional family life, Thatcher’s Britain style.

Romeo and his disabled friend are the victims of bullies and Morell intervenes, striking up a friendship of sorts with young Brass which becomes quite intense pushing Gavin aside, and when he goes into hospital for treatment Morell has Romeo to himself. But Morell’s erratic and wild behaviour make life difficult for everyone.

Romeo Brass is Shane Meadows’ first real feature film, and if you are an aficionado it is easy to spot the themes running through his work, and it is to Meadows’ credit that despite critical acclaim (Once Upon a Time in the Midlands excepted) he has stayed true to his roots and keeps it simple by exploring themes such as exclusion, addiction, family breakdown and teenage angst which strike a chord with his audience.

All the Meadows cast regulars are there, and this works so well as they basically play themselves in situations dreamt up by the writers and with a fair bit of improvisation thrown in, it gives a Ken Loach docudrama feel to the films.

Only one beef… Paddy Consadine is brilliant as the weirdo loner who tries to woo Romeo’s elder sister with disastrous blackly comic consequences, but his accent is all over the shop. Midlands, Scouse, Irish and a bit of Brummie. I’ve heard that Meadows wanted this to demonstrate the chaos of the character, but I just found it annoying.

The film gives us a flavour of how Shane came to make the landmark picture This Is England, but it stands on it’s own as an excellent piece of commentary on the Tory years and their affect on Society, and family breakdown especially.


About dermotrathbone

Writer and co author "Through Red Lenses". Activist Unite the Union, Save Our NHS Hull. Fan of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, Hull FC, Munster and Ireland Rugby. Views are mine alone and may not reflect the organisations concerned.


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