Director: Peter Mullan
Starring: Conor McCarron, Martin Bell, Grant Wray, Marcus Nash, Linda Cuthbert, John Joe Hay
Duration: 124 min.
Struggling against the low expectations of those around him, John McGill changes from victim to avenger, altar boy to glue sniffer, scholar to Ned. When he attempts to change back again, his new reality and recent past make conformity near impossible and violent self determination near inevitable.
Neds is a film directed by Peter Mullan in 2010, and was awarded Best Film at the 2011 San Sebastian Film Festival. Set in Glasgow, Scotland in the 1970's, it tells the story of John McGill, a promising young lower-class student who is failed by the system and becomes a 'ned' non-educated delinquent.
Grim, disturbing, and at times brutally violent, Mullan presents a biting and realistic social critique. Conor McCarron does a fine job in his acting debut as John, a model student with all the cards stacked against him. His father is a violent alcoholic, his older brother a gang leader, and his teachers are either tyrannical or incompetent.
The visual style is brilliant, the film looks very much like an accurate recreation of the 70's and the mostly young cast are convincing as menacing delinquents. There are also some surprisingly funny scenes and also a couple of bizarre surrealistic scenes including one of a statue of Jesus that comes to life. Overall a very good film, but the story does drag on a bit towards the end, and the ending itself is rather anti-climactic.