A Room For Romeo Brass

A kitchen-sink realist coming-of-age story in the venerable British tradition, with all the good and bad that entails. Romeo Brass (Ben Marshall) is a tough, working-class, 12-year-old kid who lives in a Midlands housing project. His best friend and next-door neighbor is Knocks (Andrew Shim), who's sensitive, artistic, and has a bad back that needs surgery....read more

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A kitchen-sink realist coming-of-age story in the venerable British tradition, with all the good and bad that entails. Romeo Brass (Ben Marshall) is a tough, working-class, 12-year-old kid who lives in a Midlands housing project. His best friend and next-door

neighbor is Knocks (Andrew Shim), who's sensitive, artistic, and has a bad back that needs surgery. Neither kid gets along at home; Romeo's father is angry and estranged from the family, while Knocks just can't communicate with his somewhat remote parents. And things get considerably darker after

park attendant Morell (Paddy Considine) rescues the duo from a beating at the hands of older toughs. Morell initially seems sweet and rather charmingly eccenctric, especially when he starts to court Romeo's older sister (Vicky McClure). But it soon becomes clear that he's actually a rather nasty

piece of work, a sort of sociopathic British cousin of Travis Bickle, and the kids' friendship nearly derails as a result of his malevolent manipulations (not to worry, though, there's a more-or-less-happy ending). It's nice that the film makes absolutely nothing of the fact that Knocks is white

and Romeo is black, and the actors are across-the-board wonderful. Considine is particularly striking; he has something of the sad puppy look of Steven Rea, which makes him even scarier when he goes feral. But it's hard to get terribly involved with the film, despite the strong performances and an

excellent soundtrack, cherry-picked from 30 years of Brit pop (The Specials' ska-revival gem "A Message to You Rudy" sets the mood nicely under the opening credits). After all, most of us already know growing up is hard and the British class system sucks. And don't blink, or you'll miss Bob

Hoskins in what seems like the briefest cameo in cinema history.

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  • Released: 2000
  • Rating: R
  • Review: A kitchen-sink realist coming-of-age story in the venerable British tradition, with all the good and bad that entails. Romeo Brass (Ben Marshall) is a tough, working-class, 12-year-old kid who lives in a Midlands housing project. His best friend and next-d… (more)

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