"God will forgive them. He'll forgive them and allow them into Heaven. I can't live with that."
Dead Man's Shoes opens with clips of home videos cut between two people walking through the green fields of England. From the opening scene, we are given the information about the two through these home videos: these two people are brothers. The bond between brothers is an idea that runs through the veins directly to the heart of Shane Meadows' film. If that is the heart, then the mind is clearly concentrated on this: Revenge. These types of films are a dime a dozen these days. Rarely do they tackle the consequences of such an act.
The script has no shoe leather whatsoever. No just in story, but in its characters. Richard, played with terrifying menace by Paddy Considine, is a person you simply do not fuck with. The thuggish brutes who brutalized his simple minded brother are given the kind of dialogue that fleshes each of them out individually.
It's a film that shovels out humor. Something you wouldn't expect given the premise. At the same time, all attempts at looking cool are thrown out the window. This is a bold move for any revenge film and I applaud Shane Meadows for going to those lengths.
The dark humor, superb acting, and haunting music all slowly build toward a harrowing climax that still has not left my mind. It is as gripping and devastating a revenge film in years.