A Room For Romeo Brass

7 Jun

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A Room For Romeo Brass is one of the first films from acclaimed English writer and director Shane Meadows. The film is centered on the relationship between two boys, seemingly in their early teens, and a stranger they inadvertently introduce into their lives.

Once we’ve been introduced to Romeo (Andrew Shim) and Gavin Woolley (Ben Marshall) and seen a few examples of their archetypal teen-boy friendship, the story gets underway. Gavin has a severe spinal problem that causes him to walk with a limp. When out walking one day, he is set upon by two older boys who abuse him, calling him a ‘cripple’ and other such horrible names. When Romeo tries to come to his rescue, he finds he’s bitten off a little more than he can chew and soon is on the wrong end of a beating. A random stranger by the name of Morell (Paddy Considine) jumps in to save the boys, and so an awkward relationship is formed.

Morell takes a liking to Romeo’s sister, Ladene (Vicky McClure) and he sets about trying to charm her. However, Morell is extremely socially awkward and has no idea how to talk to people. That doesn’t stop him, but his chats with Ladene do make for extremely uncomfortable viewing, which is clearly the intention. His frequent begging for a date or a kiss is at times funny, and always tragic.

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The same can be said of Morell’s relationship with the boys. It is clearly an odd one; it would rarely be considered socially acceptable for a man of his age to befriend two schoolboys, but Morell seems completely unaware of social norms and exists outside of them. For his problems, he is initially likeable, as well as pitiful, and appears completely harmless.

You do get the sense though that there is something bubbling under the surface, and it doesn’t take too long for it to come out. Although it isn’t exactly unpredictable, when Morell’s character starts to develop and we see the ‘real him’, there is a moment that really takes you by surprise (or at least it did me), and the feeling of the entire film shifts immediately. It’s a wonderful bit of directorial craft and instantly tells you everything you need to know about Morell.

The credit for the characterisation of Morell must really go to the actor that portrays him. This is a wonderfully assured screen-debut from Paddy Considine. Everything about him, from the accent he uses to his mannerisms, is fantastic. He turns this naïve, oddball character into an incredibly intense and unnerving one, and I genuinely did not sit comfortably in my seat for a single second of his screen time. That is clearly what he and the writers aimed for, and boy did they score.

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It’s Considine who steals the show, but credit must also go to the two young boys. They work well on screen together to create a very believable friendship. They’re both likeable kids and it’s a shame that we haven’t seen more of Ben Marshall since.

Other than Considine’s superb turn here though, the real highlight is the direction of Shane Meadows. Meadows imbues the grounds the film in reality from the opening minutes. Our introduction to Romeo and Gavin is in a chip shop, in which Romeo orders his food and then refuses to share with his friend. It feels like a real conversation and we get a very early feel for the style of the movie.

Meadows certainly has a knack for story telling too. The film moves along at a good pace, never allowing for a lull in the story and creating perfecting timing for big moments in character development. That said, there are, on rare occasions, parts of the film that don’t quite feel like a natural progression, where perhaps some lines feel a little forced and out of kilter with the conversation. This is only a minor quibble though, for whilst the film is certainly not flawless, I found that any small problems it did have only added to it’s charm.

The soundtrack for the movie left me a little conflicted. I would say that on the whole the songs are good and work well. I will also add that they are all songs I like and are by artists that I am a fan of. However, at times, the choices feel a little obvious. Is that a bad thing if they work well within the film? Probably not, but it does feel like one area of the film that isn’t particularly creative.

I found A Room For Romeo Brass to be a gem of a film, and had a friend not lent it to me, I may not have stumbled upon for a long time, if ever. I am extremely glad that I did though. Any flaws it has, and it would be fair to say there are some, are completely outshone by the qualities of the movie. It always feels realistic, the dialogue is natural and Paddy Considine gives a fantastic performance that holds the whole thing together. This is a film I would recommend highly.

7.5/10

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3 Responses to “A Room For Romeo Brass”

  1. andrean20 June 8, 2013 at 15:05 #

    Reblogged this on Welcome to Filmtube!.

  2. At The Back June 9, 2013 at 14:04 #

    I struggled to write about this one. I liked it but couldn’t put it into words. You’ve done a much better job. Nice work son.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Dead Mans Shoes | I Liked That Film - July 25, 2013

    […] collaborators Paddy Considine and Shane Meadows. I recently reviewed Considine’s debut feature A Room For Romeo Brass. In that review, I wrote of Considine, “He turns this…oddball character into an incredibly […]

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