This Is England movie review

Shane Meadows’ semi-autobiographical effort explains how the sharp clothing of the ska-loving skin ‘ead could possibly mutate into the conspicuous uniform of the far right. Against the backdrop of the Falkland’s War and Thatcher’s divided Britain, this Eighties-set drama revolves around 12-year-old Shaun, a cheeky misfit who’s taken into the bosom of a gang. For a time, all’s well. Shaun finds friendship and even a little romance, but it’s not long before disillusioned Combo arrives from prison, bringing with him racist rhetoric that splits the group.

Directors Ken Loach and Alan Clarke have covered similar ground to this, but what makes Meadows’ work so absorbing is his attention to period detail and the wholly convincing performances by the likes of newcomer Thomas Turgoose. This isn’t, however, some nostalgic jaunt; rather, it’s a candid recollection of life in England during troubled times.

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Year/cert 2007/18
Genre Period drama
Director Shane Meadows
Stars Thomas Turgoose, Stephen Graham and Jo Hartley