This is England DVD
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Directed by Shane Meadows
Produced in 2006
Main Language - English
Countries & Regions - British Film
This is England essays one of the more troubling chapters in recent British history, when the National Front fed off the discontent of eighties Britain, swelling its racist ranks with the angry and disaffected. It is Shane Meadows’ best film, a mature summation of his work since those dazzling, cheeky days of 24/7 and A Room for Romeo Brass.
In 1983 the Falklands has been won and Margaret Thatcher re-elected. Britain is in the grip of unemployment. Within this uneasy context, Meadows charts the coming of age of 12-year-old Shaun (Thomas Turgoose), a lonely, impressionable boy whose anger at losing his father in the war leads him towards some very bad company.
The film highlights the unfortunate shorthand that associates skinheads with fascists. The jaunty prologue sees the tiny Shaun invited to join a gang of skinheads, whose edgy dress code belies their good natures. Led by the beneficent Woody (Joe Gilgun), they give Shaun a makeover – shaven head, Ben Sherman shirt, Doc Martins – that horrifies his mum while leaving the boy overjoyed.
The gang also includes a Jamaican boy, Milky (Andrew Shim), for these are skinheads from the original mould, bonded by their love of Ska-inspired music. But their comradeship is compromised by the arrival of Combo (Stephen Graham), a thug driven by inadequacy, who sets out to indoctrinate the others into his culture of racial hatred. While Shaun seeks role models to replace his father, Combo is looking for scapegoats.
Set, as usual, amid the working class estates of Nottingham, the film displays all the director’s qualities: the ability to steer non-professional actors towards engaging, naturalistic performances (Turgoose, in particular, is astounding), laugh-out-loud dialogue, and an understanding of the horror that can lie inside addictive personalities. As ever, it’s also partly autobiographical, based on Meadows’ own childhood experience with skinheads.
Meadows uses archive material to evoke a period that included the TV game show Blockbuster, aerobics and the Bucking Bronco. His period soundtrack is supplemented with a beautiful piano score, by Ludovico Einaudi, which brings a heartbreaking melancholy to this bittersweet tale.
Meadow's latest is his finest yet. Building on the films explored in his previous work, This is England is an intelligent and emotive look at a boys life in the early 80s. The film follows Shaun, superbly played by first-timer Thomas Turgoose, as he finds identity and solace with a group of older skinheads. All is well, until the nationalist Combo - played with both soul and menace by Stephen Graham - appears on the scene.
Publisher: Optimum Releasing
Length: 102 mins
Aspect ratio: 16:9 Anamorphic Wide Screen
Format: DVD Colour
Released: 3rd September 2007
Cat No: OPTD1011
- Director's commentary
- Making of
- Deleted scenes
- Casting tapes