Director: Shane Meadows
Writer: Shane Meadows
Producers: Mark Herbert
Starring: Thomas Turgoose/Joe Gilgun/Andrew Shim/Stephen Graham/Vicky McClure/Rosamund Hanson/Jack O’Connell/George Newton
BBFC Certification: 18
Duration: 101 minutes
Shane Meadows has written and directed some good movies in the past such as Twentyfourseven, Once Upon a Time in the Midlands and Dead Man’s Shoes and another one to add to the list is This is England. The movie is about a twelve-year-old in the eighties joining a gang of skinheads, which will soon lead down a path of racism, violence and destruction over the course of time. This is England has received so many accolades and praises and so has its creator, Shane Meadows, and every single one of those praises is deserved. Everything from the story to the performances was great and there were some unforgettable scenes too. The story for This is England portrays how tough it was for the working class in England living in the Thatcher eighties, dealing with the aftermath of the Falklands War and also dealing with the high rates of unemployment. It deals with the smaller things such as the differences between wrong and right and knowing when you step over the line, you live with the consequences for the rest of your life. The story also deals with other things such as the characters and their story and their relationships with each other and it’s done with good pacing and is a terrific story.
This is England not only has a great story but the movie also has some magnificent performances which must definitely be noticed. Thomas Turgoose, who plays the twelve-year-old Shaun, was truly brilliant and shows so much emotion and determination as his character. Another flawless and unforgettable performance that should be noted is Stephen Graham, who plays the violent racist Combo, his performance is possibly one of the best performances I’ve seen in a movie because not only did he make me believe his character, but he made Combo more powerful and emotional. He made you hate the character yet made you feel sorry for him in a couple of scenes as Combo’s emotions are mostly pride, hatred and jealousy. The rest of the cast such as Rosamund Hanson, Andrew Shim, Joseph Gilgun and Vicky McClure were great as their characters. The characters themselves were brilliantly written and they all portrayed their characters with such strong personalities. They were brilliant to watch as it showed that there were some decent people who cared about others but it also showed how some of them are vulnerable and how some people can use that to take advantage. Another great thing about the movie is the way that This is England was split into two with two gang leaders and it felt like you were watching the pros and cons of the early eighties in a way. The first half was when Shaun joins Woody’s gang and was a more lighter, laid-back and humorous side to This is England. The atmosphere soon changed when former gang leader and National Front extremist Combo was released from prison and tries to form a gang of his own, making his half a more darker and serious side to the story.
The writing and the direction for This is England is truly brilliant and is something that stays with you and makes you think after watching the movie. There were some unforgettable scenes such as Combo’s powerful speech about immigration and the Falklands war and seeing Shaun being blindly led down a path of hate and racism. The movie is deeply moving, very honest, emotional and even funny at times and is without a doubt, one of the best British movies and the best Shane Meadows movie to date and is also one of my favourite movies. If you like British movies, a good strong drama or liked any of Shane Meadows movies in the past, this is definitely a must-see for you.