NEDS (Non Educated Delinquents) is the third film directed and written by Peter Mullan the man behind Orphans and The Magdalene Sisters. Returning back to his youth Mullans unflinching and unnerving portrayal of Scotland in the 1970′s is a brutal mixture of This Is England and Gangs Of New York.
The film centres around John McGill (played with great gusto by Connor McCarron) a young school boy trapped within the dangerous confines of working class Glasgow. Preceded and pinned down by violent gangs who are growing in numbers by the day and his older brothers notorious reputation. At the start of the film John starts off teenage life as meek, mild and intelligent young boy who has great potential and a real opportunity to break out the viscous cycle that surrounds him. But with the absence of his brother, the abusive nature of his father and the social pressure of his peers John’s decline into anarchy is nothing short of inevitable. But Mullans writing and the truly stellar performance from McCarron turn the character of John McGill into one of the most terrifying villains I’ve ever seen grace the screen.
There isn’t much to the film in term of plot, it really is a character piece more than anything else but what storyline there is helps really flesh out characterization not just with John but with the characters around him. Its a film that isn’t for the feint of heart, although it isn’t blood thirsty and gory it is shocking and provocative in places. On more than one occasion was I left with my jaw hitting the ground, just when you think you have your finger on the films pulse Mullan pulls the rug from underneath your feet and changes direction with frightening results. What makes this even better is these sharp turns never feel out of place or context and the way they are put across to the viewer give the film a really dark and brutal feel.
The only gripe I had with this film is that sometimes the Glaswegian accents are so thick its hard to pick up on the dialogue sometimes, but this I guess only adds to the authenticity of the piece. I really cant recommend this film enough it’s powerful, its hard hitting and its host to some truly great performances. Definetly not a popcorn flick or something to see on a first date but if your a fan of really good character driven, gritty dramas it really is a must see.