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Set in the early 1980s, This Is England initially focuses on 12-year old Shaun (played by Thomas Turgoose, a real find), as he befriends a group of skinheads. Shaun bears the scars of the 80s, with his dad lost in the Falklands War, and his relationship with his new friends develops carefully across the first half of the film.
But its in the second half where This Is England soars. Its not easy watching, as is the usual drill with Meadows best films, From a stunning tirade about the state of Britain, to moments of real unease and tension, its a terrific piece of cinema, and one destined to enjoy a healthy life on DVD. Its also one that should, if theres any justice, provide a major career springboard for its primarily unknown cast, and one that should get Meadows far more of the recognition he absolutely deserves.
Bluntly, not only is This Is England the best British film of the year. Its a standout contender for the best film of 2007 full stop. Its utterly superb, and itd be remiss not to see it. --Jon Foster