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ROOM FOR ROMEO BRASS, A

SYNOPSIS:
Romeo Brass (Andrew Shim) and his best mate Gavin "Knocks" Woolley (Ben Marshall) are neighbours in a town near Nottingham. Despite Romeo's family problems and Gavin's serious back condition, they're content with what they have. But one day the boys get into a fight and are rescued by Morrell (Paddy Considine). A seemingly kind man, Morrell is attracted to Romeo's older sister Ladene (Vicki McClure). But when Ladene brushes off his attentions, things take a dark turn.

"A little like Gary Oldman’s autobiographical Nil By Mouth, A Room for Romeo Brass takes us into the emotionally battered lives of suburban (and provincial) England, in a backward glance for Shane Meadows and his co-writer Paul Fraser. That Meadows chose himself to play the downbeat fish and chip shop bloke in a short scene, serving the two boys early in the film, may be the clue to the film’s ambitions: emotional catharsis in public for a private wrong between two friends. While this is in the spirit of the old admonition to writers to ‘write about what you know’ it doesn’t have to be taken as medicine, unless it provides more than an intense 90 minutes for the audience. I am not carping about the subject, but I do wish Shane had used another writing tool: imagination. This could have created a setting and a structure for the story that, without upending his intentions, might have given us riveting drama. The ingredients are all there. Performances, as always with character driven British films, are top notch, and Paddy Considine’s eccentric persona is a masterpiece of sorts, while the two boys are just perfect."
Andrew L. Urban

"The second feature from writer/director Shane Meadows, A Room for Romeo Brass is set in a world of innocence on a backdrop of working class England. Its strength lies in its poignant portrayal of its characters and the predicament in which they live. We can easily relate to the two central characters – two young impressionable boys – who live in a world dominated by women. We delve into their relationships – with each other, their parents, sibling and the edgy stranger who impacts into their lives. But unlike Meadow's debut Twenty Four Seven, there is little dramatic curve, and the rewards lie solely in the characterisations. There are many scenes that stay with me, but none more vividly than the scene when Romeo is getting stuck into the chips wrapped in paper that he has just bought (and should be taking home to his mother and sister). His friend Gavin is dying for a chip – we can almost smell them - but Romeo is greedy and unwilling to share. Then we jump to the scene when Romeo's mother asks where have the chips gone. I don't need to spell out the result. I've used this example because much of the action is as 'ordinary' as this, representing simple actions with which we are all very familiar. The performances are all superb – the two young boys are quite remarkable – and Paddy Considine as Morrell haunts. At first we feel sorry for Morrell, and the skill with which he injects the complexity of borderline manic is extraordinary. I agree to some degree with Andrew's thoughts about cathartic writing, although films like Maurice Murphy's wonderful 15 Amore defy all those arguments. I guess it's always about how it's done. I must say, the anti-male message bothered me a little – all the men are weak, stupid and badly flawed, but the biggest let down is the token role played by Bob Hoskins. Hoskins' role in Twenty Four Seven was integral to the plot, and it felt to me as though the filmmakers were looking for an excuse to include him here. But for all that, A Room for Romeo Brass is a delicate painting of a slice of life in a small English town."
Louise Keller

"Who are your friends? That’s the question at the core of Shane Meadows’ follow up to twentyfourseven. By delving into that question in A Room for Romeo Brass he’s created a film of great subtlety yet immense power. The story starts out conventionally enough with two boys dealing with growing up in a depressed English town. But when the character of Morrell is introduced, things take on a different complexion. The change starts out almost imperceptibly, but builds to a shattering climax. In Morrell, Meadows has fashioned a memorably disturbing antagonist. While some aspects of the character are taken to the extreme, he never ceases to be someone who could live in your town or suburb; someone you could meet in the street. The same can be said for all the characters, and their connection to reality (despite a few incongruities in the script) makes the film all the more powerful. Be warned - there are some very confronting scenes; but Meadows never loses sight of the essential humanity of his characters and their story. He also manages to inject some humour to lighten proceedings. The cast is uniformly strong, with young Andrew Shim impressive in the title role. Mention should also be made of Frank Harper as Romeo’s wayward father and Vicki McClure as Ladene. But the film belongs to Paddy Considine as the disagreeable, tragic and ultimately pathetic Morrell. Shot in a realistic style which enhances the drama, A Room for Romeo Brass is an unsettling but ultimately very insightful film about friendship and family."
David Edwards

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 1

TRAILER

ROOM FOR ROMEO BRASS, A (M)
(UK)

CAST: Andrew Shim, Ben Marshall, Paddy Considine, Frank Harper, Julia Ford, James Higgins

DIRECTOR: Shane Meadows

PRODUCER: George Faber, Charles Pattinson

SCRIPT: Paul Fraser, Shane Meadows

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Ashley Rowe

EDITOR: Paul Tothill

MUSIC: Nick Hemming

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Crispian Sallis

RUNNING TIME: 88 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Dendy

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: October 12, 2000







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