washingtonpost.com
Home   |   Register               Web Search: by Google
channel navigation




leftnav
Main Page 
Movies 
Music 
Restaurants 
Nightlife 
Museums/Galleries 
Theater/Dance 
Love Life 
In Store 
Outdoors/Fitness 
leftnav

      " Style
      " Comics
      " Crosswords
      " Horoscopes
      " Books
      " Travel
      " Weather
      " Traffic
      " TV Listings

 
Make Room for 'Romeo'

By Desson Howe
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 3, 2000

   


    'A Room for Romeo Brass' Andrew Shim and Ben Marshall are mates who make mischief in "A Room for Romeo Brass." (Dean Rogers/USA Films)
"A Room for Romeo Brass" is a sort of coming of age-noir, set against a dead-end world of grim housing developments and grimmer weather, where neglected kids hang aimlessly 'round the neighborhood.

This is England's Midlands, an industrialized, working-class region where Romeo (Andrew Shim), a husky boy in his early teens, lives for very few things. One is his friend, Gavin "Knocks" (Ben Marshall). The other is food. When we meet him, he's taking a bag of chips (that's "french fries" to you, mate) home to his mom and sis, but he can't stop himself from eating almost everything before he gets to the house.

This uninspiring life changes one day, when Morell (Paddy Considine), a gangly man in his twenties, saves Romeo and Knocks from a beating at the hands of some older boys. Grateful at first, Romeo gradually realizes he's stuck with the weirdest friend in the neighborhood.

Morell's a social misfit, who thinks nothing of attaching himself to the far younger boy. And it isn't long before Morell is squeezing Knocks out of the picture and begging Romeo for an introduction to his beautiful sister, Ladine (Vicky McClure).

English writer-director Shane Meadows, who made the feature "TwentyFourSeven" (starring Bob Hoskins, who also makes a small appearance in "Romeo") as well as a few shorts (the 70-minute "Small Time" and the 10-minute "Where's the Money, Ronnie?") has already created his own inimitable style. "Romeo," like his other films, finds a niche somewhere between the documentary-like, working-class atmosphere of Ken Loach and the "Mean Streets" reality of the early Martin Scorsese pictures.

But this movie does not have that American movie intensity, in which everyone's trying to make money or get ahead. This movie's a real British experience. Life isn't a get-rich challenge, it's an unscripted waiting room. You just get older and more sullen. The characters don't act so much as kill time. Born of this cultural ennui, Morell roams like a predator. His obsession for Ladine seems endless, even though she rejects him after a first date. And yet Morell's also rather endearing, which keeps Romeo hanging on.

Meadows, who wrote this film with childhood friend and creative partner Paul Fraser, simply follows his instinct when it comes to filmmaking. Consequently, "Romeo" proceeds with an episodic pace, full of narrative twists and turns that clearly are not pretested by a Hollywood committee. Things feel sort of strange and original all at once. So if some of this movie's odd turns – including Morell's bizarre evolution from rather endearing to rather alarming – throw you for a loop, well, that's Meadows's creative inner workings at work. And more power to his idiosyncratic view of the world – or English cul de sac, where odd birds like Morell are allowed to take flight.

"A Room for Romeo Brass" (R, 90 minutes) – Contains obscenity, violence and sexual situations.

 

Copyright 2000 The Washington Post Company


Search Entertainment


Optional Keyword

powered by citysearch.com
More Search Options

"A Room for Romeo Brass"
showtimes and details


washingtonpost.com
Home   |   Register               Web Search: by Google
channel navigation