After Venting righteous fury on the abuse dished out by Irish catholic institutions in The Magdalene Sisters, Peter mullan turns his gimlet eye to the perpetually dusky ’70s Glasgow of his youth in this barmpot snapshot that’s part Kes, part Gangs Of New York, part Grange Hill.
With its disaffected, feral oiks, glum period setting and simmering outrage, there’s another obvious comparison to be made.
But NEDS (Non Educated Delinquents) is more than This Is England with deep-fried mars Bars and treacle-thick rab c nesbitt dialogue (sassenachs south of Watford, engage subtitles).
at its centre is John mcGill, portrayed with deceptive subtlety by newcomer conor mccarron, his pudgy, vacant exterior concealing a bright kid looking for a way out of his dead-endstreet background.
But dragged down by indifferent teachers, a cowed mother and a crazed drunk for a father, he ditches the textbooks for glue-fuelled slacking and wasteground battling.
Beneath this angry tale of social breakdown lies a deceptively abstract work about the twin tragedies of lost potential and lost innocence.
Its verité style is no accident, given mullan’s association with ken loach, for whose My Name Is Joe he won Best actor at cannes.
and though it can’t seem to wrap up its meandering third act, John’s increasingly fractured world is beautifully measured via touches of cracked fantasy redolent of ken russell, particularly in its surreal on-safari closing shot. First class.
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