Set in 1970s Glasgow, this film tells the story of a shy and intelligent young boy who, through a series of circumstances, turns into a NED—a non-educated delinquent. Attending a new school, he becomes increasingly violent and aggressive, all the while searching for a way out.
Grizzled Scottish actor Peter Mullan, last seen on MUBI in My Name is Joe, is also a remarkably sensitive director. A characteristically tough look at teen delinquency, Neds is like the 400 Blows mold given a sudden headbutt. Winner of two Scottish BAFTAs, for direction and screenplay.
If Proust grew up in 1970s working class Britain. Raw and real and deeply affecting. It literally sickens me that people read this as unrealistic, and John as unrelatable. You people watch too many movies. 4.5
A brilliantly built script, with dialogues, cultural cues conceptual fears and situations that will be utterly impossible to understand for those without knowledge of the settings. Decent camerawork with brilliant touches here and there somewhat secondary because of the strong script, it does not get in the way. The slightly laboured last movement is also perfectly excusable, finishing this story must have been hard.
A bold homage to Alan Clarke's very British films that focused on hooligans, violent subcultures & societal issues. NEDS has the alluring mix of a killer soundtrack, subculture fashions & 70s realism. The story builds impressively as a tale of delinquency before lapsing into the absurd, culminating in a heavy handed final. It's not the most moving or involving film but the intensity & period detail stands out.
I grew up in a similar environment in Britain and this film captures the pervasive nihilism, terror and (yes) glee one felt within the school system and outside where brutality was common. Particularly accurate were the chasing scenes and banter with the 'duffers' during break. This film made me remember those times and feel anew.
It is a profound experience to see your under-represented teenage milieu on-screen.
Brilliant and real. No matter how brutal and violent, you're with this character. He got fucked by the system. You can't not love him and want him to win. FANTASTIC cast.
Music by Craig Armstrong, is spot on and the choice of song for the scene on the bridge "I'm in heaven" - wicked, such a good scene.
Mullan is a legend. He makes painful films and just shows us life.
The first half is lovely as young John struggles not to be affected by his brother's reputation and an abusive home life. But somewhere along the way NEDS becomes overwrought. Though McCarron's performance as a teen John is stunning, Neds veers into schlocky horror territory, down to an Edward Scissorhands-esque climax that is punctuated with a synthesizer melody lifted right from Halloween. 3.5