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.
All the music is great (Toots and The Maytals, Percy Sledge, The Specials, U.K. Subs, the Piano themes by Ludovico Einaudi, Et cetera) in short it's all good.
As for extras there is an essay on skins, a making of feature, and the deleted scenes (including the alternative ending)
10/10 movie I would highly recommend it to those who keep the spirit of '69 Alive and those who aren't skins at all. It's just a great movie that has a powerful message, it's pretty universal and not just about a subcultute that is very misunderstood.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good film. I collect British movies and TV series and this was an important addition to my collection.Published 27 days ago by Scots Heather
This movie is both awesomely cool and moving at the same time. Thomas Turgoose does an amazing job in this role. Read morePublished 12 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 15 months ago by Austin Lind