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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Standing up for family and against bullies. Revenge is a key motivator.
Positive Role Models
Richard is loyal to his neurodiverse brother, Anthony. He is fearless and dedicated to his moral code, but uses violence to achieve his goals. Anthony's tormentors are cruel, bullying, and manipulative. Some are also career criminals.
Anthony is neurodiverse and portrayed sympathetically. But he is also bullied as a result and needs protecting, which plays up to some stereotypes. Richard is possibly affected by post-traumatic stress, owing to his time in the army and other lived experiences. The cast lacks ethnic diversity and is predominantly male.
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Violence & Scariness
Threatening behavior and minor scuffles. Characters attempt to defend themselves with axes. Character floored with a punch. Bullying violence, including the threat of sexual violence. Character grabbed by their hair and threatened on multiple occasions. Fatal bloody injuries and dead bodies shown. Characters shot and stabbed to death. Blood spray. Improvised weapons include hammers, swords, and a crossbow. Asphyxiation. Dismemberment. Character killed with a single, graphic blow to the head. Characters neck placed in a noose. Attacks by multiple assailants. Character pressured to performed sexual acts.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Men objectify women, read pornographic magazine with nude images partially visible. References to group sex and other sexual acts. Characters shown in their underwear. Character strips from the waist down. A couple have sex while partially clothed. Male character sits on toilet, naked from the waist down. Character shown shirtless.
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Language used includes "f---ing," "c--t," "bastard," "s--thole," "nob," "pikey," "arse," and "twat." Misogynistic terms such as "cow" and "slag" used to describe women. Insensitive impressions of neurodiverse people as well as the derogatory term "spastic."
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Products & Purchases
Some characters sell drugs, exchange large amounts of cash.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters smoke cigarettes and drink socially, use and sell pills, marijuana, and powdered drugs. Characters unwittingly dosed with drugs. Scenes of disorientation and inebriation. Drug use played for humor in some scenes.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Dead Man's Shoes is a powerful British thriller about revenge with scenes of extreme violence, strong language, and drug taking. Richard (Paddy Considine) is a soldier who returns home and confronts the local criminals who torment his neurodiverse brother, Anthony (Toby Kebbell). Although there are some moments of brotherly tenderness between Richard and Anthony, Richard is powered by vengeance and his targets are all deeply unsympathetic characters. The cast is predominantly White and male, although Anthony's and Richard's respective mental conditions leads to some exploration of vulnerable and traumatized people and their well-being. Violence is constantly either referred to or shown, with several graphic deaths. In one scene, Anthony is threatened with sexual violence. When exacting his revenge, Richard's methods are often brutal, designed to torment and frighten his targets. Sex is referenced in graphic terms on multiple occasions and there is one sex scene where the couple are both partially clothed. Language is strong and constant including "c--t" and variants of "f--k." Alcohol and cigarettes are consumed recreationally, and there is also drug dealing and characters taking drugs to excess, both by accident and on purpose. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Arguably a career-best from British director Shane Meadows, this is an unrelenting revenge fantasy with a powder keg performance from Considine at its core. The language, violence, and lewdness of Dead Man's Shoes' characters might make it too unpalatable for some. But what Meadows and Considine (who co-wrote the movie with Meadows) deliver is an oddly recognizable but still wild tale of the darker side of small town life. For added realism, it peppers its villains with believable banter and a sense of humor that provides some levity, tempting the viewer into thinking that maybe things won't end that badly for them.
While the story loses some of its power and momentum during its final 20 minutes, Considine is a constant, compelling presence, aided by a sensitive turn from Toby Kebbell as his vulnerable younger sibling. But there's no escaping the fact that Dead Man's Shoes takes place in a world where violence is the only real currency. It also doesn't duck the issue of how destructive acts tear lives and families apart.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.