Director: Peter Mullan
Cast: Conor McCarron, Joe Szula, Mhairi Anderson, Gary Milligan, John Joe Hay, Peter Mullan
NEDs. Short for Non-Educated Delinquents. Which roughly translates as horrid little scrotes. John McGill (McCarron) is an 11 year old swot just about to start secondary school. He’s had a rough time so far, what with his drunk abusive father (Mullan) and brother (Szula) already well on the wrong side of the law.
On entering secondary school, John has to struggle against his brother’s reputation. Does he follow suit or face being bullied as a swot? He just can’t win. Still, he works his socks off and ends up top of the class. He then makes friends with the privileged Julian - only to get sent into a spin when Julian’s mother separates the two of them.
His life flipped upside down, John now has no friends, nor an incentive to stay on the straight and narrow. To avoid being stabbed he ends up with one of the gangs, his character bouncing around between brutal thug and sympathetic intellectual. And that's the problem with NEDs: while you hope for John's eventual redemption, you sometimes feel he doesn’t deserve it. Your sympathies end up all over the place; the state's failed him, and yes that's the point, but it’s hard to identify with a character who seems at times so inhuman.
NEDs is a tough film, both bloody and brutal. The experiences were drawn from Peter Mullan’s own childhood, though it’s not autobiographical, so it all feels realistically harsh. It's a depressing look into the adolescence of a Glasgow teen, but never engages as much as it should. A strong message, but a little too blunt.
NEDs is a harrowing and violent journey through adolescence with obnoxious, scrotey Glaswegians. Which is exactly as fun as it sounds.
- conor mccarron
- gary milligan
- joe szula
- john joe hay
- mhairi anderson
- peter mullan