A Room For Romeo Brass Movie Review

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There's something sick about a 25-year-old man wanting to befriend kids the age of 12 or 13. But it makes for great cinema, especially when the guy is affable and goofy, like newcomer Paddy Considine's character Morell, in A Room for Romeo Brass. Once he gains the trust of his two adolescent pals Romeo and Knocks, the good times start to roll as the two boys ditch school and head for the hills in search of adventure with their newfound friend. Directed by Shane Meadows (TwentyFourSeven), the film is at its core a twisted comedy about a young boy, Romeo Brass (Andrew Shim), and his search for love, attention, and acceptance through his friends and in defiance of his family.

The story begins with Romeo and best friend Knocks (Ben Marshall) as inseparable pals who live as neighbors in suburban England. Knocks has a rare back disorder that requires surgery and keeps him constantly limping, but his family is supportive, especially his mother and father as they excitedly anticipate his recovery. Romeo, on the other hand, lives with his mother and older sister in a volatile household with no father figure. In fact, Romeo's estranged dad Joseph (Frank Harper), shows up right around the same time the boys encounter Morell.

When Romeo sees his dad, he threatens to move out. The 13-year-old Romeo then decides to stay with Morell; who doesn't seem to mind because he doesn't work, will go along with just about anything, wears the oddest of clothes, and has become infatuated with Romeo's older sister Ladine (Vicky McClure). Everything seems dandy as Romeo and pals hit the streets playing hooky from school. In fact, Morell seems so gullible that the boys take charge of the relationship by teasing him and making him look like a fool in front of Ladine.

But there's more to Morell than he lets on. To put it mildly, Morell has some major identity problems and soon becomes a thorn in Romeo's life and a wedge between his and Knock's once-sacred friendship. The plot takes a sharp turn as the audience learns just how disturbed Morell actually is.

Well acted and humorous, Shane Meadows is successful in creating a very realistic impression of adolescent friendship. One minute the two young friends are best pals taking a blood oath, and the next day the tables are turned. Meadows deserves praise for weaving the problems in Romeo's family life, like his abrasive mother and nonexistent father, with the emergence of his new friend Morell, who represents a pseudo-parental figure simply because he is fully-grown and drives a car. The blending of humor as portrayed through Morell's quirkiness helps lighten the somber tone, as Morell symbolizes a freedom for Romeo from his problems at home. Appropriately, Knocks creates a moral dilemma for Romeo, as he comes to hate Morell while Romeo is duped by his charm. These twists add to the dramatic mix in creating a competing triangle of distorted relationships between Knocks, Romeo's family, and Romeo and Morell.

Aside from a score of cheesy British rock, the movie was memorable and enjoyable. From beginning to end the pace is fluid, and at 88 minutes, it doesn't often flag. Of course, as a foreign (British) film it unfortunately won't be playing in many theaters, so it will be a challenge to find on the big screen. But I urge you to see it; I promise you won't be disappointed.

Romeo, O Romeo.

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A Room For Romeo Brass Rating

" Excellent "

Rating: R, 2000

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