This is England
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Top Customer Reviews
The themes cover Thatcherite England in the 80's, Skinheads (good and bad), racism, bullyism, and the loss of childhood innocence. The film is strongly influenced by Director Shane Meadows childhood experiences as a skinhead, both good and bad.
The outline of the story is that a young "Shaun Fields"(played amazingly by newcomer Tomo Turgoose) lives in a small un-named Northern English town in 1983. "Shaun" has recently lost his father in the early stages of the Falklands War. On the last day of the school term before summer break "Shaun" is harassed over his choice of hippy-like clothing by several cooler kids.
On his way home from school, Shaun chances upon a non-racist skinhead gang (which includes two Jamaican members), led by the charming and lanky "Woody" (played by the affable Joe Gilgun). "Shaun" immediately takes to "Woody" as a surrogate father figure and is soon admitted in to the gang. Admission means parties, a new girlfriend (Rosamund Hanson) a new haircut, a new Ben Sherman shirt, and a new pair of boots (purchased by his mother (Jo Hartley) in an extremely funny scene) as well as a whole new group of friends who treat Shaun as an equal.
All seems well in this quiet English town until one incident changes all of their lives about midway through the film. This is the return of "Combo" (the electrifying Stephen Graham in his first major leading role) from 3 years in prison. "Combo" is the former leader of this gang and wastes no time trying to re-establish his dominance in a direct confrontation with "Woody".Read more ›
The film does`nt sugarcoat adolescent behavior-Shaun and cohorts smoke pot and engage in petty vandalism- but neither does it aim for shock value. Every character is just amazingly real, an archetype of people we`ve all grown up with, no matter where you live or what kind of music you like. Extra points for the soundtrack- lots of Toots & the Maytals. And yes, we learn a bit about the politics of 80`s England, which is fascinating since you don`t always hear about recent history in Europe or America. An underrated gem I know I`ll watch many times.
"This Is England" dives into the skinhead counterculture that gave working-class young people a place to belong and share their dissatisfaction. Unemployment and a poor economy made them susceptible to the inflammatory rhetoric of the National Front, causing skinheads to be associated with racism and violence in the popular consciousness. The two stand-out performances are, not surprisingly, the most emotionally charged characters. Thomas Turgoose is completely natural as a foul-mouthed, moody youngster -who looks closer to 9 than 12. Stephen Graham makes Combo's instability and insecurity menacing, always in danger of erupting. I found the poor quality DV out of place in the period setting and less than this film deserves. But the fine performances are worthwhile. The only bonus feature on the IFC DVD (2007) is a theatrical trailer. No subtitles.
The story is told through the life of a young fatherless boy who lost his father in the Falklands war that befriends a group of traditional skinheads. He is tired of being picked on, and he's tired of being bullied. He's a loner, and the traditional skinhead group he meets become part of his family. When the group encounters Gumbo, a former member of the group, it's a world that the young boy never imagined, and a divide occurs between the traditional skinhead gang and Gumbo's National Front inspired movement.
I have to say that I found the story to be a little bit more realistic than "American History X," and a little bit more educational. The soundtrack to this film is also very fitting, and the soundtrack of traditional ska and northern soul music is wonderful. The characters in the film are also great, esp. the black skinhead, Milky.
If you want a feeling of what happened to the traditional skinheads, or just want an interesting independent film to experience, check out "This Is England."
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This movie is both awesomely cool and moving at the same time. Thomas Turgoose does an amazing job in this role. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Lucky13
I love this movie...when I purchased it I guess I didn't realize it wouldn't work on my blu-ray player because of the region code. Learned my lesson. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Austin Lind
One of my favorite films, fantastic character development and cinematography. Highly recommendedPublished 18 months ago by Faith
If you have any interest in working-class England of the early Thatcher years, you'll appreciate how well done this movie is.Published on December 19, 2013 by Andrew F.