Eyes and Ears of the Beholder

Shane Meadows's A Room for Romeo Brass, a slight, semiautobiographical saga of adolescent boy friendship, is enhanced by a fabulous soundtrack that runs the gamut from the Specials to J.J. Cale, with Hank Williams, Beck, Belle and Sebastian, and lots of others in between. Like Meadows's Small Time and TwentyFourSeven, the film draws on Meadows and screenwriter Paul Fraser's memories of growing up poor in the English Midlands.

Spies like us: Baye and Le Bihan in Venus Beauty Institute
photo: Lot 47 Films
Spies like us: Baye and Le Bihan in Venus Beauty Institute


Venus Beauty Institute
Written and directed by Tonie Marshall
A Lot 47 release
Opens October 27

Sound and Fury
Directed by Josh Aronson
An Artistic License release
Film Forum
Through November 7

A Room for Romeo Brass
Directed by Shane Meadows
Written by Meadows and Paul Fraser
A USA release
Opens October 27

Romeo Brass (Andrew Shim) and Gavin "Knocks" Woolley (Ben Marshall) are inseparable until Romeo falls under the influence of the much older Morell (Paddy Considine), a serious sicko who's using Romeo to get into his sister's pants. A chubby black 12-year-old with an enormous appetite for junk food, Romeo is flattered by Morell's attention. Knocks, a fragile white boy with a lively intellect and a damaged spine, is terrified by Morell's violence and angry with Romeo for abandoning him when he needs him most. After Knocks has back surgery, Romeo doesn't even come to visit. A Room for Romeo Brass is so low-key it could be mistaken for a throwaway. But Meadows's understanding of childhood fears and fantasies and the yearning, heartfelt performances he draws from his two young actors should not be underestimated.

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