"Go nicely or horribly dark."
A Room for Romeo Brass
Review by Ross Anthony

Romeo and Gavin, age twelve or thirteen, are next door neighbors in England and best of friends until a strange young man comes into their lives. The film focuses on their far from perfect family situations and how the stranger interrupts the normal flow of disfunctionality.

Noticeably slow, the opening credits seemingly introduce an amateur piece of work; fortunately, the contrary is true. Director Shane Meadows performs one admirable job of portraying the gritty reality and gritty humor of this Midlands housing estate -- the crisp tight script giving him a firm foundation. Then there's the amazingly charged performance by the stranger, Paddy Considine. He'll have you loving him, hating him, sympathizing with him, but best of all, confounded and studying him in hopes of understanding his next move. He's masterfully unpredictable and beautifully dark.

The only thing holding this film back from an "A" rating is an emotional theme. That's not to say that the film is not emotion - my God ... it is! It's just the message, I'm not sure what the film was trying to tell me or teach me about life. Engaging as a well-adjusted clutch, the film has great traction on screen, but as I drove away from the theater, its after-taste rested bitter on my lips.

Also, though Bob Hoskins is listed in the credits, he has nearly as much screen time as a passerby. Fortunately, none of the actors involved are less talented than he -- quite the contrary.

Director's statement: "There's no logic to the things you feel as a child. Decisions are made from the stomach. Your best friend can be dumped in an n instant as a local bum becomes your idol. When I actually remembered how I viewed the world as a child, I realized how much I had forgotten."

Overall, an excellent, top-notch production, compromised by an ambiguous theme.

  • A Room for Romeo Brass. Copyright © 2000. Rated R.
  • Starring Ben Marshall, Andrew Shim, Paddy Considine, Frank Harper, Julia Ford, James Higgins, Vicy Mclure, Ladene hall, Bob Hoskins.
  • Directed by Shane Meadows.
  • Written by Shane Meadows, Paul Fraser.
  • Produced by George Faber and Charles Pattinson at Company/USA.


Copyright © 2000. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit: RossAnthony.com

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 07:55:44 PDT