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A modern British classic!
on 7 May 2014
Shane Meadows has directed some fine films over the past twenty years or so, but his most celebrated and widely seen effort, 'This Is England' remains his most powerful and genuinely realistic. I'm an avid watcher of films of all genres, and regard it as one of the best British movies in recent times.
The film centres around twelve year old Shaun (played by the talented Thomas Turgoose in his debut performance), a lonely, average kid growing up in Thatcher's Britain 1983. He is befriend by a group of older teenagers, they dress different to him, wearing punk clothing and shirts, and listen to reggae music. They take him under their wing, giving him a makeover and complete transformation. Shaun, now with a shaved head and friends is finally enjoying life, discovering girls and parties. All seems well until Combo (Stephen Graham on top form) arrives on the scene, he's overly racist, extremely dangerous, and has recently been released from prison. Shaun is suddenly drawn into a much dangerous and uncomfortable world.
Loosely based on Meadow's own childhood experiences, 'This Is England' is an excellent, gritty and hard-hitting movie. It brilliantly portrays the effect that gangs can have on a child, the corruption that sometimes comes with it, and the final, in this case tragic, consequences. With the perfect blend of drama and comedy, solid performances (particularly from Turgoose and Graham, as well as Joseph Gilgun, who has a natural knack for comedy) I found it all too believable, like watching real life.
For British film enthusiasts, do not miss this one!