Peter Mullan’s tale of gang youths in Glasgow embodies much of British kitchen-sink melodrama’s visceral power, as well as some of its flaws and clichés. Telling the story of John McGill’s (Conor McCarron) journey from bookish pre-teen to rampaging teenager beset by his raging alcoholic father and criminal older brother, Neds is certainly littered with powerful performances and perceptive details; unsurprising as the film is partly autobiographical for Mullan. The main revelation here is McCarron, who resembles a young Ray Winstone in the hard-hitting Scum, another film that dealt harshly with youth violence in ‘70s Britain. However, despite these considerable strengths, Neds is hamstrung by a certain predictability and a certain degree of misery-wallowing, where dramatic strength is sacrificed for blunt violence and gruesomeness. No doubt it is a realistic and engaging portrayal, but to what end?