This Is England (2006)

24.

★★★★

Directed by: Shane Meadows
Written by:Shane Meadows
Starring: Thomas Turgoose, Stephen Graham, Jo Hartley

It’s the eighties and the neighborhoods of working class England are as unattractive as the hair styles of the era. While fond memories of that time may turn to music and passing fashion trends, This Is England opens with scenes from the Falkland Wars, violent riots provoked by the National Front and a military report coming through radio speakers.

We're a lot nicer than we look

After being teased, bullied and beaten as per usual at school, twelve year old Shaun (Turgoose) is stopped by a small group of skinheads who take him in with a friendliness that is infectious and impossible to resist. As Shaun follows in the footsteps of these clean shaven, Doc Martin-wearing misfits, his relationship with them soon takes an unexpected turn when National Front enthusiast, Combo (Graham) comes home from prison.

Set against a backdrop of turbulence, violence and clumsy graffiti, This Is England uses complex and charismatically flawed characters to engage the audience beyond just the politics of the film’s historical and national setting – turning the twisted ideals of nationalism into a story about one boy’s efforts to be loved, and find compensation for his father’s death in the form of friends, a sense of purpose and a newly found identity. The performances support this undeniably human and deeply affecting story, coupled with an eye for dramatic tension and a powerful emotional impact.

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