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Nil By Mouth (1998)

Ray Winstone , Kathy Burke , Gary Oldman  |  R |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)

Price: $45.99 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Product Details

  • Actors: Ray Winstone, Kathy Burke, Charlie Creed-Miles, Laila Morse, Edna Doré
  • Directors: Gary Oldman
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: December 23, 2003
  • Run Time: 128 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000SXK0E
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #125,056 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Nil By Mouth" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The dramatically brutal life of a family struggling to get by in South London is unflinchingly depicted in Gary Oldman's debut feature as writer/director. In a moving performance for which she was named Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival, Kathy Burke stars with Ray Winstone, Chalire Creed-Miles, Laila Morse and Edna Dore in this story of love, dependency, abuse and poverty. NIL BY MOUTH features an acclaimed musical score by Eric Clapton.

Gary Oldman took a break from acting to write and direct this unflinching family drama out of the kitchen-sink British school. Oldman doesn't appear in the film, instead handing the heavy lifting to the remarkable Ray Winstone (Sexy Beast, Cold Mountain) and Kathy Burke, who won a prize at the Cannes Film Festival for her work. The scummy drug trade of lower-class London is Oldman's turf, but he puts special focus on the miserable cycles of violence that fuel a family's struggle within this world. The results are not always easy to watch, but they are devastating (and the final sequence is chilling). Oldman may be guilty of indulging his actors a bit, but it's forgivable, given the big, roaring performances. One advantage of watching the movie on DVD, at least for non-British audiences: the chance to check subtitles against the heavily accented dialogue. --Robert Horton

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful. March 29, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
I first heard about this film on Siskel&Ebert and I wanted to see it. My brother found it in a small video store and rented it for me. This may very well be one of the most dark, depressing,and brilliant films I have ever seen.
It's directed by Gary Oldman (known for his acting, or overacting, in Dracula, The Professional etc,) and he proves to be a great director. The movie is about a family with Ray Winstone as Ray, the father/husband of the household and Kathy Burke as Valerie. Ray is a working class lout who abuses both drugs and his wife. His son Billy (played by Charlie Creed-Miles) is a herion addict on the streets after his father nearly bites his nose off for stealing his smack. Ray is at times both scary and pittiful, mean and sad, nasty and pathetic. He intertwines these roles so well that at time's you can't tell where he is coming from, or what he'll do next. Valerie is just a simple wife who is just trying to keep her head down so she doesn't get it taken off. However even she is not imune to Ray's violent temper over nothing. In one very vicious scene she is attacked by Ray and although the beating take's place off-camera it still sends chills.
I must warn anyone who wants to watch this movie the it contains more bad language that any I have ever seen (like Pulp Fiction, Scarface, or even South Park) but the profanity only hightens the dread at times. It also looks at life in a very dark way. This is not a happy movie by any means and Oldman has produced a real masterpiece. This has great acting and real good timing between the actors. This is quite simply one of the best movies I have ever seen.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Powerfull, Original and Realistic. April 14, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
I am one of those people who rates a film on how much I think about it AFTER I have seen it. This film has stuck with me for the better part of two weeks and is easily one of the most original, realistic and powerful movies I have seen in a long time.
Unfolding more as a docu-drama than a traditional story, this movie brings you into the lives of a South London family plauged by a multi-generational cycle of poverty, abuse and addiction.
What separated "Nil By Mouth" from so many other movies about poverty and abuse is that rather than sanitizing it with obvious villians and heros, the characters all contain elements of both. As a contrast, we are also shown their friends, some of whom are worse off and others who have managed to find rewards and happiness in their lives.
Another factor which makes this film so captivating is that the actors truly inhabit their roles and show range and depth that you see from real people but not often enough in a movie.
Addressing the issue of violence in the film, I commend the entire cast and crew for not playing to the obvious shock factor or galmorizing it, but rather showing violence in all of its cold, random reality.
Finally, like all of the other reviewers, I would like to ask where's the Soundtrack?!? The music for this film is fantastic! If any Label Personnel read this, please consider releasing/licensing the music... there is a market for it and it's too good to leave on video.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
You will not be able to determine that Gary Oldman's first film Nil by Mouth is an acted scripted film rather than a documentary. A great film depicting a working class South London family shot in candid documentary fashion. We focus in on off the cuff conversations, a junkie's (Charlie Creed-Miles) endless search for a fix, a raging alcoholic (Ray Winstone who also starred in Tim Roth's debut The War Zone), and their 4 generation family. As I said I had trouble grasping that the dialogue was actually scripted it's so naturalistic. Such a refreshing contrast to the Hollywood stuff so far removed from naturalistic dialogue it has little to do with reality.
I always considered the soap opera Eastenders to be worthless...kind of weird that the same kind of working class Londoners can be depicted with such depth and power as Nil By Mouth has.
Finally, the psychology behind Ray (Winstone) is delved into to the extent that this brutal guy retains humanity (unlike the Hollywood counterpart which would be a mindlessly cruel non-human monster). It's important to get to the root causes of such things and this great film does (by intentional implication).
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't Help Lovin' That Man... July 5, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
"Nil by Mouth" is a movie that takes its sweet time to get going. In the beginning, it's filled with too many characters and dialogues that don't seem very relevant. But once it gets going... Boy, does it ever get going. It's a brutally honest and disturbing look at domestic violence, drug abuse and poverty, and while it's very difficult to watch at times, it's also extremely gripping. The two leads, Kathy Burke and Ray Winstone, are absolutely phenomenal in portraying characters that are much more complex than just a victim and an abuser (the exchange between the apologetic Ray and angry Val after Ray had beaten up Val for the umpteenth time, and Ray's monologue about his own abusive father, are two of the most memorable and powerful movie moments in recent memory), and the supporting cast (including Gary Oldman's sister Laila Morse in her debut) is superb as well. I think the movie's subplot about Billy the junkie ("Trainspotting" without the humor, if you will) gets perhaps a little over developed though. It is integral to the main story line, but it becomes too distracting at times.
Gary Oldman does a tremendous job in his directorial debut. The script seems very authentic, probably because most of the characters and the events in the movie are taken from his own experiences, and his cinema vérité style (minus the shaky camera, thank God) suits the grittiness and honesty of the film extremely well. The music is also excellent throughout. I know I'll never listen to "Can't Help Lovin' That Man" the same way ever again, that's for sure.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars but excellent story.
Very hard to watch, but excellent story.
Published 3 months ago by Donna Bland
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Human Drama
On one side of the movie spectrum we get the overblown, computer-enhanced dross pumped out by the big production companies. Read more
Published 7 months ago by blumenberg
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth a look.
Acting at it's best, dark story, the cast speaks for itself. Watch it but you won't be in a good mood, sad subject matter all said and done.
Published 13 months ago by T. Hounsome
4.0 out of 5 stars Gary Oldman's directorial masterpiece
This film is very entertaining. And I loved it. Though if you are at all sensative to foul language or violence than I would stay clear of this one. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Casey
4.0 out of 5 stars A violent and caring film
Even if this film is dealing with a lot of violent and distressful scenes, it made me caring, after all. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Karen
5.0 out of 5 stars Shows hows its done....
For a film full of scenes and performances so real you feel like you're in the same room watching this leaves just about any other similar film standing. Read more
Published on June 19, 2012 by Young Goblin
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie- BAD RECORDING
I absolutely love this film which is why I decided to purchase it. However, The disk's audio is off sync during the entire 2nd section. Read more
Published on May 15, 2012 by HH
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Depressing Viewing
Nil by Mouth

This is definitely one of the most depressing films I've ever seen. Yes, the acting is top notch but I get no pleasure at all from watching the dregs of... Read more
Published on September 20, 2011 by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars A hard look at real life
I will just come out and say it...Do not watch this movie if you can't be open minded and look into the lives of people who have it so bad that you wonder, "How do they stay... Read more
Published on August 6, 2010 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Ray Winstone in another stark, powerful drama
Nil By Mouth (1997) immediately impresses just upon reading the cast list: the ever-excellent Ray Winstone in one of his finest, most intensifying roles, the wonderful Kathy Burke... Read more
Published on August 19, 2009 by Ian Phillips
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