Shane Meadows is one of my favourite film directors and, for my money, the best, most interesting and exciting contemporary British filmmaker.
It was good but it was his second feature, A Room For Romeo Brass, that really won me over. I saw it at a press screening during the 1999 Edinburgh Film Festival and I was hooked from the moment the opening credits rolled.
The film, which like much of his work is semi-autobiographical, is a coming-of-age story co-written by Meadows and his childhood friend (and frequent collaborator) Paul Fraser. It stars Andrew Shim and Ben Marshall as the titular Romeo Brass and his best pal Gavin Woolley.
Here is the films’s fantastic opening credits sequence (featuring the excellent A Message To You, Rudi by The Specials), which introduces the pair (watch out for a cameo from Meadows as a chip-shop worker):
Their friendship is put to the test by the arrival of eccentric loner Morell. The role showcases an astonishing, outstanding debut performance by Paddy Considine, a long-time friend of Meadows’, who has gone on to become arguably the finest British actor of his generation.
Initially Morell, who takes a shine to Romeo’s older sister Ladine (Vicky McClure), seems like a harmless, amiable, socially awkward buffoon – only for the plot to take a darker turn when a prank played by Gavin makes Morell look stupid in front of Ladine and he doesn’t get his own way.
Here are a few scenes of Considine in action:
Here’s a glimpse of his more menacing side: