Written by Selina Pearson
|Wednesday, 20 October 2010 18:12
Director: Peter Mullan
Cast: Conor McCarron, Joe Szula, Mhairi Anderson, Gary Milligan, John Joe Hay
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, with a drunk abusive father (Mullan) and a brother (Szula) already well on the wrong side of the law.
On entering secondary school, he has to struggle against his brother’s reputation and face being bullied as a swot. He just can’t win. Still, John works his socks off and ends up top of the class. He 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. The problem is that while you hope for his eventual redemption, you can't help feeling he doesn’t deserve it. And so your sympathies end up all over the place; it’s tough to identify with a character who seems at times so inhuman.
Neds is a tough film, both bloody and brutal. These experiences were drawn from Peter Mullan’s own childhood, though it’s not autobiographical. The result is a depressing look into the adolescence of a Glasgow teen.
Neds is a harrowing and violent journey through adolescence with obnoxious, scrotey Glaswegians. Which is as fun as it sounds.