A Room for Romeo Brass

Gavin, Morell and Romeo (Marshall, Considine and Shim) take a day out at the seaside...
dir Shane Meadows
scr Paul Fraser, Shane Meadows
with Andrew Shim, Ben Marshall, Paddy Considine, Vicky McClure, Ladene Hall, Frank Harper, Julia Ford, James Higgins, Darren Campbell, Justin Brady, Anthony Clarke, Bob Hoskins
BBC 99/UK 3 out of 5 stars
Review by Rich Cline
An unusual story of friendship between 12-year-old boys, A Room for Romeo Brass has the same realistic feel as director-cowriter Meadows' TwentyFour Seven. But it has a much more engaging story that carries us from moments of outrageous hilarity to horrific violence.

Romeo and Gavin (newcomers Shin and Marshall) are inseparable buddies ... until they meet the quirky Morell (Considine, also a first-time actor), who comes across as an utter buffoon, but hides a vicious streak. When he develops an intense crush on Romeo's sister (McClure), he begins to come between the boys. Then he worms his way into their families as well.

It has an offbeat feel from the start that draws you into the characters. Shin and especially Marshall are real discoveries--they breathe life into Romeo and Gavin and make us feel for them. These aren't your typical movie children, they're spiky, funny and very clever; the seemingly offhanded performances are terrific. And Considine is unforgettable as Morell--absolutely hilarious and terrifying at the same time, like Alan Partridge's evil twin! The underlying sense of humour keeps the story's seriousness from getting too maudlin, even though it does seem a bit over-dramatised and scripted as the plot winds to its conclusion. But it's extremely entertaining ... and best of all, a true original.

[15--themes, language, violence] 21.Oct.99
UK release 4.Feb.00; US release 20.Oct.00

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"Saturday night, nice small theatre. It needs to be for twelve people. The film is deeply unsatisfactory, but for Paddy Considine I'd have left. After barely fifteen minutes I felt didn't want to hear anymore about the sort of dysfunctional families indulgently displayed here. The film seems to be just a series of events, the script is so weak, making even Bob Hoskyns' appearance - purposeless anyway - seem even more some filmmaker's in-joke. Enough of Shane Meadows' indulgences of his childhood and more effort all round please. Give the Arts Council grant back for a start." --Ken Webster, Aberystwyth.

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1999 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall