This Is England Reviews
The musical theme by Ludovico Einaudi is a suitable classic for the ages.
This one stays with you, for good or bad.
It's a story that evokes strong empathy towards the characters and it's the performances by the main cast, in particular Thomas Turgoose and Stephen Graham, that enhance this empathy further.
This Is England has a unique style, it's set in a unique time and it revolves around a unique set of individuals that have been 'let down' by someone or something, weather that be a loved one or the government. The main reason I enjoyed this film is because there is so much you can take from it as an individual.
At the time of it's release I truly believed Shane Meadows had created something special and since then he's gone on to make multiple critically acclaimed spin off TV series of the film. All of which are fantastic.
One of my favourite British films of all time.
Predictable story of "Good kid falls in with bad crowd" offers nothing new to the genre, other than a backdrop of Thatcherite gloom.
by a social and political revolution. The grey/cold atmosphere and
the top acting only add up to the drama. Don't watch this if you're looking
for a feel good flick.
The story was MUCH better, not the least of which is due to the fact that there is a good deal more character development; although, I would like to have seen more of an after-story, detailing what happens to the character's, such as what kind of reception did the punk kid get, the one who got kicked out of the car, once he returned to his friend's... I was surprised that they showed no repercussions from the idiot's robbing the store. After all, the owner knew Shaun & his Mom and Combo did threaten the owner's life... The ending made sense, tho I would like to have seen what happened to the group after the beating received by Milky, at the hand's of Combo.
I was surprised that there was no mention of the 'traitor to the human species' political party the BNP, formed in 1982, after splintering from the 'traitor to the human species' National Front...
The music, although not perfect overall, was a thousand times better, especially the song at the beginning, during the opening credit's. The choreography, between that song & the video footage is virtually flawless.
Shaun (Thomas Turgoose) is a lonely 11 year old kid growing up on a rough council estate in the North Of England. He is grieving the sudden loss of his father after he was killed in the horrific Falklands War. Encountering incessant bullying at school, Shaun meets a gang of friendly, multi-cultural, dope-smoking skinheads, headed by Woody (Joseph Gilgunn) who immediately are drawn to his sadness and confusion and subsequently take the boy under their wing. However when one of the gang's old members Combo, (Stephen Graham) a vicious, racist thug and bully, is released from prison, Shaun is manipulated by Combo's way of thinking and racist attitude and turns into a thug himself, convinced he would be making his late Dad proud. After Combo brutally beats up Shaun's friend Milky (Andrew Shim) and exposes his own deep vulnerability and unbalanced mental state, Shaun comes back down to earth (and his senses), realising the lifestyle he'd been leading was not really for him, nor would it have made his Dad proud.
Though the first half of This Is England is touchingly funny, drawing on the allure and fun of being in a gang, the second half soon makes way for a much darker, raw and gritty nature, with many violent episodes, highlighting the brutally stark racism that existed at the time (and still does unfortunately!. Shane Meadows shrewdly evokes the total working-class despair of "Thatcher's Britain", capturing the era impeccably well and is all impressively authentic in detail.
Like every other of Shane Meadows absolutely superb films, the acting and dialogue is astutely naturalistic, drawing you in from the opening scene. Most outstanding of all is the immensely talented youngster Thomas Turgoose who's almost stark performance never once shrinks from being anything but powerful and convincing. Indeed the cast are all thoroughly excellent that includes another notably powerful turn from the ever-brilliant Stephen Graham as Combo; Joseph Gilgunn as the lovable, kindly rogue Woody who is the leader of the gang that Shaun first joins and who also refuses to be brainwashed by Combo's unhinged way of thinking and racial hatred; Jo Hartley as Shaun's mum Cynth who upon meeting the gang headed by Woody becomes charmed by them , after having had serious reservations when first seeing her young son with a shaved head; Andrew Shim as the friendly Milky; Vicky McClure as the more sensible, level-headed Lol and Rosamund Hanson as the eccentric but likable Smell.
Truly an out and out masterpiece, This Is England is an often funny, often shocking and often deeply moving portrait of a moment in British cultural history.