- 2 hr 4 min
Neds is a gritty and intense drama, set in the impoverished suburbs of Glasgow in the 1970s. The film, directed by Peter Mullan, takes a candid look at the cyclical violence that plagues urban areas, through the eyes of John McGill (Conor McCarron), a bright young boy from a troubled home, who finds himself caught between the promise of a better life and the pull of the street gangs that dominate his neighborhood.
The story begins with John as a quiet and studious 12-year-old, already a promising student at his local Catholic school. But he is bullied relentlessly by his classmates, both for his intellect and his judgmental attitude towards their rough and tumble behavior. At home, John is plagued by the toxic dynamics of his family, where his father (Peter Mullan) is an abusive drunk, and his older brother Benny (Joe Szula) is a petty criminal who is already involved with the local gang, the Neds (Non-Educated Delinquents).
As John navigates his adolescence, he is drawn into the world of the Neds, partly out of a desire for camaraderie and acceptance, but also out of a sense of justice against the bullies who have made his life miserable. The gang's charismatic leader, Canta (Greg Forrest), takes John under his wing, and the two develop a close bond, even as John begins to realize that the violent and self-destructive tendencies of the Neds are not what he wants for his life.
The film immerses us in the bleak reality of 1970s Glasgow, where poverty, unemployment, and sectarian tension have created a breeding ground for gang violence. Mullan paints a complex picture of the Neds, showing them not just as mindless thugs, but as young men who are trapped in a cycle of poverty and desperation, where violence is the only means of asserting their power and identity.
At the same time, the film also explores the impact of the gang lifestyle on John's own development, showing how his involvement with the Neds threatens to derail his academic career and plunge him into a world of poverty and violence that seems to offer no escape. The film's central tension lies in John's struggle to find a way out of this cycle, torn between his desire to please his family, his duty to his community, and his own aspirations for a better life.
Throughout the film, Conor McCarron delivers a powerful and nuanced performance as John, capturing the character's internal conflict with impressive depth and authenticity. Similarly, Greg Forrest brings a captivating energy to his portrayal of Canta, imbuing the character with a mix of charm and menace that makes him one of the film's most memorable figures.
Overall, Neds is a tough and uncompromising film that offers a critical look at the social realities of urban Scotland in the 1970s, while also exploring the human toll of gang violence on young people. With its powerful performances and unflinching gaze, the film is sure to leave a lasting impression on audiences.
Neds is a 2010 drama with a runtime of 2 hours and 4 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.9.