NEDS is a coming of age story of a young boy who goes from a shining star in school to becoming a None Educated Delinquent.
The film starts out introducing us to John a young boy who has just gained a top award for education at primary school, upon completing primary school he heads outside to his proud family it is here he meets an older boy who threatens him aggressively saying something along the lines of “I swat fucking cunts like you” this leaves the young boy fearful of secondary school. We then soon learn he is a very gifted young boy with a delinquent older brother who we soon see torturing another boy for abusing John.
John then moves onto secondary school only to be placed in the bottom class, it is here he witnesses a teacher whip a student and asks to see the headmaster, he then asks to be transferred into a different class, John is granted the opportunity if he finishes in the top 2 students in the class; which he does and is quickly moved up.
The story then starts to turn very quickly as we see John as a 16 year old; he rapidly started becoming a “Ned”. John then gets heavily involved in the gang culture of Glasgow. His Behaviour escalates to the point he almost kills another boy in a vicious unprovoked attacked.
At this point I was expecting the film to take a ‘This Is England’ style turn, become more character based and really start to develop. However unlike the afore mentioned film this film really starts to get extremely dark; John has to make some really serious decisions which leads to a very strange scene. Here we see what I can only describe as a drug induced hallucination featuring Jesus Christ. For me this is where the film starts to really fall off the cliff, it just becomes a number of scenes involving violence and fighting, the overall quality including the acting drops levels and I began to switch off but sure enough the film recovers as we see John back at school.
John then really starts to fall off the deep end walking the streets carrying knives and causing trouble; I just felt these type of scenes wasn’t really building towards anything as we had already seen such things earlier on in the film, I kept waiting for the turning points, that never really came, but at the same time I felt compelled to watch. Neds really draws you in with its realism and grounded, gritty approach to telling its story. You will see scenes that will shock you as well as scenes that will make you laugh and smile. I found through out the film the acting is on the most part really good, especially with the supporting cast of John’s father and teachers.
Overall I believe the film is influenced by other films, it strongly reminds me of scum, only out of a prison setting. While in parts it borrows from This Is England, But even though I have some problems with the plot, overall direction and feel I would reccommend seeing this. It’s not often you get to see film making with this much realism flowing through the story and dialogue, actors put in good performances. While the film may fall flat in parts; the end feeling you have is that you have just seen a well crafted, no-nonsense film.