Blood-soaked footwear

“Dead Man’s Shoes”

Magnolia Pictures

Directed by Shane Meadows

Written by Shane Meadows and Paddy Considine

Starring: Paddy Considine, Gary Stretch, Toby Kebbell, Jo Hartley, Seamus O’Neill, Neil Bell and Paul Sadot

Not Rated/86 minutes

Opened July 7, 2006

Three out of four stars

Aaron Allen

The Daily Utah Chronicle

“Dead Man’s Shoes” is a brisk and bloody trot through the British midlands, where Richard (Paddy Considine), an ex-army man with nothing to lose, returns to terminate a gang of coked-up losers who terrorized his younger brother, Anthony (Toby Kebbell).

“God will forgive them,” Richard fumes. “He’ll forgive them and allow them into heaven. I can’t live with that.”

But can he live with the gruesome things he does in the name of vengeance? Richard stalks and slaughters these lowlifes with the demented menace of Michael Myers, slitting one guy’s throat and then painting a message on the wall with the guy’s blood-“One down,” it warns the others.

Considine is downright chilling, an ocean apart from the emotionally inert dad he played in Jim Sheridan’s “In America.” He stuffs one of the thugs in a suitcase (dead man’s luggage?) and shows the mangled body to another thug, moments before shoving a knife in the guy’s side.

Richard is a monster, a murderous sociopath whose bloodlust makes his victims-sociopaths of a lower order-look cuddly by comparison. The gang is led by Sonny (Gary Stretch), a slicked-back, steely-eyed drug dealer who thinks he can simply roll over Richard. He’s sadly mistaken.

“Dead Man’s Shoes” is difficult to watch and even more difficult to comprehend. What Sonny and his idiot pals do to Anthony deserves justice, but not the kind of justice that Richard so mercilessly dispenses. But men like Sonny, rich with cash and dope, can get above the law if they climb into bed with the right people, so would justice be served if left to the legal system?

One thing’s crystal clear: God’s going to have a tough time forgiving any of these people.