19/01/2011

Neds...NEDS...neds...Whevs

 
"Ned is a term applied to certain people in Scotland, akin to the term 'chav' in England. The stereotypical view of a ned is a white adolescent male (although this term does not exclude females) or,of working class background. They engage in hooliganism, petty criminality, loutish behaviour, fighting, underage drinking and smoking or general anti-social behaviour."
Peter Mullan's third feature film is set in 1970s Glasgow and if the description above doesn't give you any indication, it's about some working class people you wouldn't piss on were they on fire. I deliberately ignored all the buzz prior to watching it at the London Film Festival which made all of the extreme violence and thoroughly depressing subject matter even more of a shock. It's obvious Mullan heavily drew on his own youth for Neds as everything from the scuffed DMs to the demin roll ups to the indecipherable Glaswegian twang all feels very authentic and totes believable. So believable in fact I could barely understand a word they said and I found myself leaning towards the screen trying to figure out what the hell they were on about. It brought back horrible memories of asking people for directions in Edinburgh before resorting to nods and 'uh uhs' when they responded.

It touches on class, gang wars, family issues and manages to balance them all very well while be utterly absorbing. I didn't quite 'get' the end but considering I understood about half of the dialogue and saw it months ago, I think that's a pretty ringing endorsement.