Writer: Shane Meadows (Screenplay)
Starring: Thomas Turgoose, Stephen Graham, Jo Hartley, Andrew Shim, Vicky McClure, Joseph Gilgun, Rosamund Hanson
Plot: A young boy becomes friends with a gang of skinheads. Friends soon become like family, and relationships will be pushed to the very limit.
Tagline – Run with the crowd, stand alone, you decide.
Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Gritty, Hard Hitting Reality Check
Story: This is England starts as young boy Shaun (Turgoose) is struggling with the death of his father in conflict in 1983, he gets picked on at school, he doesn’t fit in, until a group of skinheads led by Woody (Gilgun) welcoming him into their circle of friends for an afternoon of trouble, while his mother Cynth (Hartley) isn’t completely happy with this group, she does see him being happy for the first time in years.
Thoughts on This is England
Characters – Shaun is a 12-year-old boy that has suffered with the loss of his own father’s death in the Falklands, he gets bullied by the other school kids and has always just been left feeling alone in the world. The only people that let him in are Woody and the gang of skin heads who just want to hang out and soon gets drawn into a darker side by the more aggressive leaders of the gang. Combo is the older leader of the gang that doesn’t hold back with his hatred to other races in his country, he will fight anybody who goes again his gang too, being a horrendous role model for Shaun. Cynth is the mother of Shaun, she wants to see her son enjoying his life more but is getting worried about his own life choices. Woody is the member of the skin head gang that invites Shaun into the gang, he wants to help him fight back against the bullies, by offering somebody to hang out with.
Performances – Thomas Turgoose in the leading role is fantastic as we see just how he is dealing with his own grief in all the wrong places. Stephen Graham steals the show with his hyper aggressive character, while the rest of the cast do make us feel like we are watching mates hanging out.
Story – The story here follows a 12-year-old boy that ends up joining a skinhead gang after he struggles to find a way to deal with the grief in his life from his father’s death. The story does tackle just how difficult grief could be for the children of the victims of war, with Shaun having his school friends pick on him because of his father’s death, which in todays, not the 80s wouldn’t be acceptable in anyway, with everybody being more supportive. The idea of joining the gang and just how the gang soon starts to consume his life, effecting his behaviour shows how being given the wrong lines to follow will not make life any easier. We do see how the world has changed since the 80s and how the skinhead culture should never be forced onto anybody.
Crime – The crime world we get placed into here it, involves the violent behaviour of the skinhead gangs to anybody that doesn’t fit into their profile.
Settings – The film is set in the midlands of the UK which does show the neighbours that would have been struggling in the 1980s.
Final Thoughts – This film does show the violence being pushed onto people if they can’t deal with grief when they have nobody else in their lives.
Overall: Violent Drama.