This is England

Wednesday, July 16, 2008
One of my favourite movies so far this year. That's not difficult given the crap that's been shoved at us this year but This is England is definately at the top of my list. Surprising considering it was one of those movies that I hadn't heard a lot about, just snippets here and there.

The film is set in England in the early 1980s during the early years of Thatcher's government. Shaun is a lonely 12 year old: no friends, constantly picked on, and his father was recently killed in the Falklands war. He doesn't fit in anywhere. After a particularly bad day, he walks past a group of skinheads who take pity on him and invite him to join them. Shaun finally seems to have found a place where he belongs - he's accepted as one of their own, not a care in the world, and even snagged himself a much older girlfriend. Life for Shaun couldn't get much better, even his mother is happy that he's got a group of friends to watch over him (although she's not too keen on his new haircut). Things start to take a different turn though when the group's leader returns from a stint in prison with a much different view on the way things are in England, and the way he thinks it should be. Shaun get's caught up in the mayhem, not realizing what he's doing or what he's becoming, until one drunken night ends up with the violence turned against one of their own.

My take on the plot is pretty simplistic as there's a great deal more going on than just the "story"". Interspersed through out the film is footage of Thatcher during her time in office as well as coverage of the Falklands War. I certainly remember the days of Thatcher and Reagan but I was too young at the time to really understand what was going on. I've never lived in England so it's difficult to fully grasp the whole situation. Without a better knowledge of the Falklands, "local" opinions about Thatcher and her legacy, and the National Front, I'm sure that I'm missing part of the bigger message of this movie. When I hear about skinheads, I certainly don't instantly think of England. Because I'm located in Canada, the first thing I think about is the southern US and then backwoods Alberta.

The acting in This is England is top notch. Especially when you consider that most of the people in the movie (with the exception of the recently released Combo, played by Stephen Graham) have little or no experience. Some of them were plucked right out of drama school. I highly recommend watching this little gem if you get a chance. A Must See!!!

Captain recommended.


Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

For the record the places where you'd find people like this inthe USA are the midwest and states like Idaho, Utah, and California. That's not to say that we don't have racists down here, we do. What I am saying is the media has done a great job of maknig the south look bad but having lived other places in the USA I know for a fact that people in the north and the west are more racist than they are here in the south.

Red said...

We taped this off the telly a few weeks ago, but haven't got round to watching it yet. We might give it priority over Letters from Iwo Jima ad 300, both of which we currently have on loan...

Barbara Bruederlin said...

This is one that has been on my list for quite a while. Thanks for the reminder to look for it!

* (asterisk) said...

I'm looking forward to this. Director Shane Meadows has been "one to watch" for a good few years. Watch his film Dead Man's Shoes if you can find it. Awesome movie.

Milla said...

I liked This is England very much. And I agree with *Aste's comment on Dead Man Shoes.

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